Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Training week

I decided since there were no classes after Monday this week and there is a holiday I'd make this an easy(ish) week. I kept up my usual strength Monday, Wednesday but nixed the extra cardio Tuesday, Thursday and strength on Friday

7am BPump stiff but I got through it.
9am 40 minute walk with Boomer 

6pm 4 mile run. I drove to the downtown area and looped around the state house. On the second loop I added in 4 runs up and down the staircases at the front of the building.
Giant tree at the statehouse

9am 1 hour leg strength gym--not as intense as a class but I used it as an opportunity to up the weight.
11am 45 minutes running around the dog park like a crazy person with Boomer and his new friends then a 15 minute walk.
5pm 4 mile run with 3x800 m at HM goal pace Great run it felt really smooth and strong. 
I wanted to add another interval but some guy had been hanging out at the track for the entire time I was there (and looked like well before) not running just watching. At first I thought he was with a family that was there but they left and then as the last other runner was leaving he still hung around. It might have been completely innocence but I got a bad vibe and finished up, especially as my last lap some comments were made and I was now on my own....couldn't hear enough to know what was said. Trust your gut!!

1pm 4 miles running A quick run before rushing home to get ready for dinner at a friends house. A warm one at 70F but pleasant and part of the riverwalk across the river has reopened yipee!!

Friday rest
5pm 5 miles easy running It was also the last gamecocks game of the season so no worrying about how to time my run or go get milk for a while, yay!!  I avoided most of the madness but still I encountered a ton of very drunk people.

Tree bought and up

3pm 11 mile run being nosey I wanted to make my way to the Lake Katherine area to see what it was looking like post flooding. It took me 5.5 miles to get there. It was weird seeing the lakes there so low. Other than really bad (vomit in mouth, eugh) acid reflux,<---eat tacos post run not pre, it felt great, even with hills I felt like I could have gone longer. My average pace snuck in just under 10min/mile even though it was over 70F so I'm getting fitter.
Empty River 

Next week I'm heading to San Antonio Texas to run the Rock and Roll Half Marathon there, I'm really excited to see Texas.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015


I apologize in advance. I feel weird taking these kinds of pictures and even weirder posting them on the internet. However, a stomach is a stomach, we all have one! 
I am officially marking my progress. I've been working out a lot for almost a month now. Running 5 days a week and either more cardio (twice) or strength training (three times) classes. Until today I felt like I'd make zero progress atheistically. I've lost 1-2 lbs, out of the 10-11 lbs I want to lose, and even that sometimes depends on the day I weight myself. 
A few weeks back (22 days to be exact--picture on top) I took a few pictures of my stomach. I don't what prompted me to do it, usually my stomach is the last place I see any results it, but I did.  Today I went back and took another set without looking at the originals and I was very surprised to see I looked different. I had more definition. I was so surprised that I took more at different angles or with more light and I wasn't tricking myself, I do look different.

As the weeks go on I'm sure I'll change more but I think if I cleaned up my diet I could do a whole lot better. I am eating healthier, now I'm at home all the time, especially during the day but in the evening if someone buys a bar of chocolate or some cookies I will binge on them.  Another thing I could do better on is drinking water. That has gone downhill since leaving work. I'm hardly drinking any water. My intake consists of tea, coffee and occasionally ginger ale.

I think picture taking might be my new favorite way of tracking my body changing. I'm so vain is playing somewhere in the distance. Don't worry I don't think I'm a super model or body builder...if only.  I'd love if my starting and progress picture could be better to start with but we all have to start (or restart) somewhere!

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Training Week

I've enjoyed this week so much. Mentally I felt great, really positive aka this is the first week that I really didn't let anything get in the way of running. I've been extremely tired at times, I still ran. I ran in lashing rain and in the dark. Guess what, I don't melt in rain! Physically I feel like I've made some sort of a break through. Maybe it's because as you'll see it was light on classes but either way it was an extremely encouraging week.


My own gym membership had run out so I had to get set up through Martina. The first use of our marriage license got me a spouse card at the university which allowed me to get a new membership to the gym. They were really nice and switched my class pass over to my new acc so I wouldn't have to get a new one for the last few weeks of the semester. All had to be done during normal business hours so no class just paperwork.

7am 30 mins light cardio Another class fail. My friend couldn't meet me to swim so I decided to go to a spin was full boooo!!! I did 30 mins split between a bike and the elliptical in the main gym. Then I spent around 15 minutes stretching everything out.
10am 30 minutes walking A fifteen minute visit to the dog park where we met a gorgeous apricot colored mini poodle. Then a 30 minute walk so Boomer could get his strut on.
3pm 5 miles running a good run. My easy pace isn't getting a whole lot faster but I'm feeling stronger. If I need to pick up the pace I can do it. I even finished the last half a mile a little faster. 
A little lifting?

7am 1 hour BodyPump good class. Got some good pointers after class for my chest press since its been hard on my weak shoulder and wrist. My instructor also told me to up my weight for it because I'm strong and too light a weight is messing me up a little, what now?! I'm getting there, I can now do some push-ups on my toes, woohoo! Now to make them all that way.
3pm 4 mile run with (3x800m at goal HM pace) I felt sore starting out but I loosened up. I did a 1 mile warm up and then 800m intervals with 800m easy in between. High school kids were being coached on the track and their coach said I couldn't run at the same time so I ran on the grass around the soccer pitches. A little hard on the ankles but fun.
8am 30 mins gym cardio the yoga teacher was late again (I don't think I'll go to his class again) so I went to the gym instead. I only saw the teacher as I was leaving. Myself and classes just can't get it on this week.
4pm 3.5 miles running with Boomer Filled out my visa application it took 2 hours!! Despite filling everything out and submitting it, correctly to the best of my knowledge, I spent the entire day paralysed by the clenching your jaw type of stress. Of course I couldn't connect the logical part of my brain, that knew a run would make me feel better, with the motivational part. I went, did it and immediately the stress dialled itself back why didn't I run earlier.

12pm BodyPump I felt like a total beast in this class and it was fun. I struggled as usual on lunges and shoulders but everything else I upped the weight again. I was a little sore the next day but not paralyzed so I think I'll stick with the current weight and up it again a few weeks after Christmas.

4pm 4 miles running 1 mile warmup, 2x sub 9 min/mile, 1 mile cool down. I got lots of jeers in the post game traffic but I stared straight ahead and just ran. The last mile really was a cool down as the heavens opened and I got drenched in rain. A really nice run. It'll take a while before I'm able to run longer tempo runs but I felt strong and the pace felt good.

8 miles running I stuck to an eight mile long run again this week, mostly because I was running in the dark along the (sidewalk) road. Now that I don't have a busy trail to run on, night time running has become more like a danger sport, because despite reflectors out the wazhoo and blinking lights, cars still don't see me (I'm so fast...not) and they seem to think turn signals are optional. Rant over! 
A little Christmas lighting

On a happier note I really enjoyed this run. My ankles got a bit sore towards the end because a lot of the sidewalks are slanted, other than that I felt great the whole time. 

Next week...get my long run done early and add more miles to it.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015


7am Body Pump

7am 30 min swim then hot tub and coffee again. I might not like swimming with other people but it's soooo nice at least once a week to talk to someone outside my household.
4pm 4 mile run finally the sun shone. It was hovering right around 70F and 60% humidity. Not perfect running weather but a lot better than it has been recently. Boomer came along and was exhausted after.

7am BodyPump drove through heavy fog to get there which is unusual for here. Didn't want to get up but I'm glad I did. I felt really strong. Second class of increased squat weight and increased my back weight today. Time to start moving away from the baby weights now that I've had a couple of weeks to break myself into my new routine.
5pm 3.5 miles running at the track. 1 mile warm up and 3x800m (@goal, in my dreams goal, HM pace) with quarter mile recovery. Found the longer intervals harder than the shorter faster ones but it's fun to mix it up and do some different types of speed work. Tried to stick to around a 8.30 min/mile for the 800s but ended up being closer to 8.

4 miles running by myself. The river is getting closer to letting go of my running path but not yet.
6pm yoga went to my favorite class for a great stretch

By 9am I was outside trying to scrub all the crap the trees had deposited on my car in the last few weeks off. It was a bigger job than I thought and it went on until 11.30...what an arm workout.
12am Body Pump it was good struggled a bit with shoulders but everything else felt strong.
Lunch then another few hours of home workouts with cleaning up the yard, as some friends were coming to park in it for the football game.

I was meant to run but I was doing work in the morning when my Mom called me with the sad news that an old friend had died in a car crash. I hadn't spoken to her too much in the last few years, because of life and stuff, but her family were like my second one growing up. About an hour later it hit me and I spent the rest of the day in tears and cried myself into a migraine. Poor Martina came home after a week in Boston to a complete grump.

Sunday 8 mile run
Started out feeling awkward and meh, even my clothes felt off but by the end I felt good and strong. I actually got faster as the run progressed. Spent a lot of time thinking of all the people who died too soon.

Next week: Another couple of miles on my long run and 4-5 miles on Saturday as I want to build up to a longish run both Saturday and Sunday to get me ready for doubles.

Living away from home

I think a lot about how different it is to live in the US, what it would be like to move home. After 3 years it's a weird situation to think about. In some ways South Carolina feels more like home than Ireland. 
We built a home here together. In Ireland, when we first lived together Martina moved into my place. It was never truly ours. We started with nothing here and have slowly made ourselves a place we are happy to call ours. We've also grown together, moving so far from home and family changes you. We stopped second guessing things because we were worried about having to move home and accepted if we lost some stuff or money so be it...better to live life than worry. We got married and raised a puppy.
 3 years has seemed like an impossibly long time given all those things. It's been lonely but I've made some friends. Life in general is different. Even when we are both working hard it seems like there is more of a life outside work to be had.

I miss Ireland all of the time but right now thinking about actually living in Ireland seems like a black hole in my mind. When we left Ireland it had sunk into a huge economic crisis. My first year of being a postdoc there saw me taking 3 salary cuts within a year (because it was publicly funded). Everytime you turned around new charges and taxes were being added without any improvement or increases in services in return. 
Now it's recovering, pretty well, if the news is anything to go by. Still, I just don't see how we'd afford to live there while having any sort of quality of life. I just can't imagine it. That's weird, not being able to picture your life in the country where your family lives and has lived for 100s of years. Like everything else if we need to we'll do it and make it work just like we did here and the difference is we'll have friends and family to fall back on. Anyway the whole point of this is not to complain about the cost of living in Ireland, but just to recognize how very strange it is to be caught between two homes. I want to be here and there all at the same time, if only we had teleporters or could apparate!

Ultimately neither of us has any intention of living in the US long-term. Once we have kids or even before that moving to Europe will be a priority. Being closer to our parents as they get older will be a deal breaker. I'm hoping to enjoy another couple of years full of travel here and then move. I want to take with me the best aspects of life and what I've learned here (and lots of gorgeous medals) and continue it on when we leave. Since I can't imagine living in Ireland we'll probably be moving to the UK or even learning a language and moving to the continent. Our hearts will be torn between three homes, I wonder if it'll always feel like that?

Fighting back

I hate damp and mold. I once lived in a new build, that obviously wasn't let dry out enough before painting and move in. I battled damp and mold there for almost a year. The landlord didn't care but eventually I won and it dried out. 
Now I find myself fighting that battle on a smaller scale again. Two weeks on honeymoon were great but two weeks of no AC in the house, this really did a number on us. Lesson learned. I've bought dehumidifiers, I'm running the AC, freezing myself, to get the humidity in the house down and I'm cleaning everywhere and constantly washing and drying towels etc. I doubt it would have been an issue except that we had a lot of ground water and then for the last few weeks it's rained and the humidity has been sky high. Everything coming into the house including the air is wet.

It's getting much better but it's been a disgusting couple of weeks, anything that is even a little damp starts to smell. I've changed out the shower curtain (it was due anyhow but suddenly got moldy). A pair of shoes had to be binned. All the liners of the laundry baskets had to be boil washed. Even my running belt was not immune from the mold. Under my sink had obviously leaked at some point so bleach ahoy and this morning on a whim I decided to pull out and wash the floor underneath the fridge. I hate moving appliances because they are not mine and I worry about something going wrong but I'm glad I guessed it under the fridge was covered in mold. 

It's a bit like a horror movie every time I open a cabinet or pull stuff out to clean I'm worried about what I'm going to find. For now I'm going to leave this picture of my nice clean behind the fridge area to remind myself to keep deep cleaning.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Week beginning Nov 2nd

7am BodyPump- hard but getting into the swing of it.
Rain ALL day so no walks.

7am 30 minutes swim Met one of my friends, we swam, then hot tubbed it for a chat. Nowhere near as sore as this day last week but the swim was really good to loosen up my shoulder and back.
11.30am 30 minute walk with Boomer Boomer got a haircut then we went to the vet, got his nails cut and afterwards a walk to calm down.
1pm 30 minutes yoga used an app called Down Dog it was pretty good.
4.30pm 4 miles running Easy running. My pace was better because I wasn't so sore. I enjoyed it. I checked in on the river trail and its taken a step back. Its under about 7-8 feet of water, boooo!!!

7am Body Pump- Easiest one yet. I think my body goes into shock when I haven't done a class in a while and after a few more then decides this isn't bad after all.
4.30pm 3 miles at the track (with 5x400s) well this kicked my ass, in a good way. I was like a filly sprinting out of the stables for the first 2 400ms, think 6 something miles. Hey, I was excited to be at the track. Then the pace dropped off until I was a wheezing mess by the end of the last one. I went home sweaty, tired and happy.

8.30 yoga 1.5 hours
The instructor was late but did an extra long class. I was especially non-flexible today and completely shown up by very flexible people in their early 20s. Hell I could do the splits at their age....jealous much,yes I am.
Noticed yesterday in BodyPump that it was sore to put pressure on my left hand...mucho compensation with weight balancing in yoga and later ice. My wrist must be tight from gripping weights wrong or too hard?
Around a mile of dog walking left the car in to get a nail taken out of a tire and have the hole repaired. Drove there with a dog who was so excited to meet people and smell tires in the showroom. Walked home and later back to pick up the car.
5pm 3 mile run I picked Martina up early (well she'd already worked a normal length work day) so we sat around and had a cup of tea and talked about our day. So, I left this run a little late, reflective gear and blinking lights ahoy! Added a giant hill in on the way out and enjoyed the downhill on the way back.

1.5 mile run 11.45 ran in the never ending rain to BP and lapped soccer fields.
12pm Body Pump Martina had the car today, as she was giving a presentation at a conference in Charleston..exciting! The combo of no car and Boomer keeping me awake all night, meant it was easier to combine my class and run during daylight hours..and have a lie in. BP felt easier with a proper warm up.
1pm 1 mile run hoped to do more but I was surprised by how heavy my legs felt, must have been the squats.

Saturday no exercise other than a bit of yard work

4.30pm 3 mile run
I exchanged Martina for a second cocker spaniel, babysitting in return for the same when we were away. My friends were at the ill fated RnR Savannah. Their dog has bad separation anxiety so I took both dogs out with me for a run so I would not come home to a torn up living room.
It surprisingly went really well and boomer loved having a running buddy. He kept trying to rub up against her and bite her ears like a puppy. For the first time in a while it was not only rainy but cool...really nice.

Pretty happy with my increasing mileage this week. I plan to mainly add to my Sunday run next week. I don't want to overload myself too quick with all the classes I'm taking.

Miami and Key West Trip

I've been holding off on writing this because I don't want to admit the trip is over and gone :) but its getting to the point were a little reminder of an amazing trip is nice. I want to remember the whole thing forever so be prepared for a long post.

Day 1-Fly to Miami
We stayed in the Yve hotel in downtown Miami. I really had no idea how lucky we were going to get with the location here. I booked it purely because it was downtown and it was a groupon hotel. A very hip, little boutique hotel. When we arrived in Miami, we checked in and then on the advise of the front desk guy went over to the Biscayne Bay Mall. We headed out at around 8 at night and the place was hopping. It was so fun. We had what we now call Mega Mojitos and ended up being pretty tipsy afterward and listened to some fun Latin music until around 1am.

Day2- Miami & Everglades

Since the likelihood of us going back to Miami, or at least without a dog in tow, was quite slim I was adamant that we go see the Everglades. We went on a fun airboat ride and saw a little alligator. 

If there was one thing I would change about the vacation it would be this. I would have done the tour with a different company. We went on a tour with the Safari Tours Inc.  Every stage (bus, airboat, show after, bus again) we were begged for tips...really annoying to me and nothing makes me want to tip less than being asked. 

The tour was significantly shorter than I thought it would be. I thought we'd be gone all day when the whole thing could have been done and over in 2 hours. 

We got off the bus at the mall and went and had a very late, very large lunch at a mexican restaurant. Then that night we went out for more music.

Day 3- Drive to Key West
We picked up the car at 10am from a Hertz around a 5 minute walk from our hotel and began the long drive down the US1 to Key West. This is billed as one of the best drives in America. The first half, not so much because we took a slower road to avoid tolls (rental companies charge out the wazoo for tolls). When we started to hit the Keys it became more and more beautiful. Toward the lower Keys we drove along the 9 mile bridge and the views were stunning.

We arrived in Key West and stopped at Publix for food on the way. We got to our condo and fell in love. It was a tiny one bedroom apartment with a deck but it was so beautiful. We felt right at home the minute we walked in and loved all the nice coffee, salt pepper etc in the kitchen. The washer and dryer also came in handy on a beach trip. Considering how nice it is this place was an absolute steal compared to some of the other condos I looked at. That night we walked half of Duval street (all shops and restaurants) arriving at Mallory Square (Gulf of Mexico side) in perfect time to watch the sunset. A few drinks and our first sampling of Key Lime pie and we were done for the day.

Day 4 - The boozy day
We started off the day with a nice breakfast on the deck with mimosas. We decided to walk the other half of Duval street and make our way towards a dog friendly bar (Louie's Backyard) and beach that I found when we were thinking of bring Boomer. We chilled out there with a drink or two. We walked a different way back to the condo and took in the Southermost point, a lighthouse and Ernest Hemingway's house. 

That afternoon we went to Zachary-Taylor state park to see the fort there and go to the beach. The beach was pretty small and a little rocky but what I didn't know before this trip was that none of the beaches in Key West are natural so even its best beach was small. What the beach lacks the beautiful water makes up for...I could have sat all day and just looked out at those gorgeous colors.

Day 5 - Dry Tortugas National Park

Named after the turtles that live here and the fact that it has no drinkable water (dry) this place was amazing. I've already posted about this trip. If you go to Key West you have to do this trip. We were so spoilt the entire trip it completely made up for the crappy Everglades tour. We made it again to Mallory Square for sunset and had fun watching some of the street performers.

Day 6 - Kayaking

I was on a little high after our trip so I immediately wanted to do another tour. We went on a 2 hour kayaking trip through the mangroves with Lazy Dog tours. Again we got to see lots of sign of the manatees that I wanted to see but we did see some giant tarpon. This was fun, educational and good exercise.

Day 7- Another boozy day
We walked to go see the graveyard (weird I know) because they had above ground graves. While there we got to see more chickens, which are everywhere on Key West, and some beautiful but shy green iguanas. Imagine finding one of these guys in your house!!
It was hot and we were thirsty so we made our way back to Louie's Backyard and sat for hours eating appetizers and drinking. Then we did a little swim and sunbathing at the beach there. It was an early evening and we caught up on some TV as I had to be up early the next morning.

Day 8- Southernmost Half
I ran the race in the early morning. We spent the morning at the pool that was part of our condo complex it was lovely. That afternoon we went back down to the state park.
That evening we mostly went shopping and spent some time in the Green Parrot Bar for Martina to finish off her Key West Cocktail Tour. What won't we do for a free t-shirt ha, ha!

Day 9-last day in the Keys 
We left Key West early because the drive takes longer than you'd think and we wanted to stop off along the way. We stopped at Bahia Honda State Park. This is meant to be the place to go to on the Keys for snorkeling and diving. This was a recon for future possible trips to the Keys. It was gorgeous. The water was even clearer than Dry Tortugas (but that might have been more effected by the hurricane). We went to the shop here and bought lunch (really good sandwiches), sat and looked over the water, followed by a walk on the beach.

Day 10 and 11- Miami Part 2 and home
We stayed in the Thompson Miami on Miami Beach for the last two days so we would get a different Miami experience. This place was expensive but well worth it. Everything you could want was right there towels, loungers, drinks etc. The first morning we found a cute cuban restaurant for a huge breakfast and some tasty cafe con leche. We spent the day on the loungers at the beach. A really nice way to finish off the vacation. The next day was mostly packing and airport time.

Miami was fun but Key West was amazing. Its was so relaxing because even though we took a rental car we used it twice. Once to go food shopping and once to go to a tour company for kayaking. If you can go, you won't regret it.I'm so glad we did this trip it was unbelievable and a huge thank you to my parents for funding it!!