Race Recap: Albany Lakes Series Race 1


The first race of the Albany Lakes series was on Sunday and I had chosen to do the 5k option for this one, with the next 2 being 10ks.

Official Stats:

Distance: 5 km
Time: 0:33:39
Pace: 06:44 min/km


I'd had a really off week with not getting quite enough sleep from Wednesday, and then I skipped my Friday run because my muscles were still store from either Monday yoga or the running session on Tuesday (or maybe both), which has never happened before.  So I really didn't know what to expect going into the race.  Pre race dinner was leftover macaroni with poblano and queso sauce so still keeping the pasta tradition alive, but race morning was already too hot for coffee so lots of water was drank and we didn't bother with any breakfast.

On The Course

0 - 1 km

It was a fairly crowded start, I thought I'd seeded myself well, but it was such a mixed ability crowd that I might have been the only one who gave this a consideration.  It took a minute or so to get to the start line after the horn sounded and I started my Nike app as I crossed the timing mats but for some reason it was not playing my music, so for the first 300 metres or so I was jogging slowly as I tried to get it working properly.  And as soon as I had got music going Alex, my running coach from Moxiee Running appeared next to me!

I had music in one ear and encouragement from Alex in the other and it was a bit of down hill so we were able to get to a nice pace.

1 - 2 km

We were happily trucking along and Alex makes me talk to distract me from the running that's happening.  He asked me about Scotland when a lady with a Glasgow accent joined in.  I love this about races.

2 - 3 km

Alex whispers that we are passing people and I see that we are indeed passing plenty of people and I feel pretty good about how I'm running.  We passed the water station that signalled the half way point and I was feeling good and Alex reckoned we'd be finished in about 16 minutes and I thought he was kidding.

3 - 4 km

It started to feel a little tough here.  There was a long incline and the heat was ramping up with no shade and at the 4km marker I was about done.  If I'd been running on my own I would definitely have walked here and there were plenty of people doing just that on this hill, but I had Alex and he continued to encourage me on and to focus on my breathing.

4 - 5 km

I was delighted to make it to the top of what felt like a giant hill to me and get my breath back a little.  Then it was a quick down hill and flat 250m to the finish line.  I did manage to up my speed a little to finish and I stopped my app.

Post Race

I was really hot and needed to find shade.  It was only a bit later that I looked at my app and realised that I had run my best time in a decade, but my app hadn't recorded the full 5k so I don't get it shown on my apps pb stats boo :(  Last year I raced a 2.5km at this same pace and I was exhausted at the finish line, I'm so pleased to have done the same pace for twice the distance.

Kane finished in 27:21 and was happy.  The other two ladies in our party finished looking happy and then we went to find cool drinks and shade. 

The start and finish line was right outside the mall, and in the final race of the series we get to run through the mall - so I'm looking forward to the air conditioned part! We got some food and drinks at a café there and then headed down to the prize giving.  The prizes are pretty good; several restaurant and mall vouchers, a few pairs of Brookes shoes, a Barbeque, and a big TV.  Nothing for us this time but there's still 2 more chances.

What's Next

The next race in the series for me is a 10k, which is the same course but 2 laps.  I've never had to do laps before so I think this might be mentally tough and I'm already dreading that little hill that I'm going to have to do twice next time!  It's also crazy hot by 8am, my app says 18degC but other websites say it was closer to 25degC and with the humidity well, it just felt very hot!  Preparations for the next one, which is on Valentines Day, will include lots of fluids in the run up, during and after the race, plenty of sun block and a sporty hat.

How was your weekend? Did you do anything active?

Online Running Program - My Experience

I've been doing an online running program for 10 weeks now and I thought I'd write a review.  I don't think I've written a review before so feel free to give me some tips/corrections in the comments!  I haven't been asked or compensated to write a review and I paid for my 12 week program.  I just wanted to share my experience.

Last year sitting in the sun with my team having just completed another Ekiden Rotorua we met Alex from Moxiee Running.  He's in the business of helping people, predominantly women, reach their running goals.  About 2 weeks later by coincidence I met him again this time he was going around Auckland offices handing out flyers for a new run/walk group he was starting.  I signed up.

//Alex from Moxiee Running

The first run group was set up to go for 4 weeks and lead up to the Skechers Womens 6k.  It was great having this regular run date on the calendar with the group because I felt more motivated to go.  During this time I also learned more about Moxiee Running.  Alex isn't a qualified personal trainer or athletics coach but someone who ran the coast of New Zealand and is passionate about helping others, his purpose through Moxiee Running is to provide online motivational support to aspiring beginner runners.  I'm a perpetual beginner runner and that's how it would continue without some form of consistency and commitment to training so I took advantage of the introductory offer of $97 for a 12 week plan and got started.

Firstly I got emailed a questionnaire to find out where I'm at fitness wise and what my goals are but some of the questions are more probing into the real why you want to run.  I realised that I missed having "Runner" as part of my identity.

Next I got sent an invite to download the Moxiee Running app on to my phone.  Since the program is entirely online, the app is the heart of it.  Once I logged in I could see my program and the message tab.

My program is straight forward, I start every day with a 5 minute walk to build the fitness habit, a 4km run, 6km run and 11km run and also 3 days of fun exercise of my choosing, such as ice skating, yoga, cycling etc.  My friend also signed up and her plan has less distance but stretching days and cycling added in as her focus and goals are different from mine.  Once an exercise it complete you tap it and it puts a tick that you did it and records the day you did it on.

//Image from Moxiee Running

I'm pretty good at making running programs and could have designed my own, but the real draw card is the messaging through the app.  Alex sends me personalised videos and his enthusiasm is infectious so I feel more motivated to get the run done.  If I don't go for a run on the scheduled day, I'll get a message asking why I didn't do it with suggestions on how I can get the run done the next day.  And one of my favourites is that every Friday I have to send Alex a picture from my run.  This ensures that I do my run and I also try to find some nice places to photograph.  I had a question about stretching that I was able to ask through the app and get an answer as well getting sent some instructional videos on how to use a foam roller.  Replies are quite quick, sometimes instantaneous but certainly always the same day.

//Image from Moxiee Running
Alex consults with lots of experts in the fitness world but I don't always agree with his views on stuff like diet and I'm unconvinced about dynamic stretching and foam rolling (but I do it anyway).  However, I've definitely benefited from the online program.  For me, I needed that extra push to stay committed and consistent and I'm working my way to the point where I'll have successfully built that habit and won't need the program anymore.  Perhaps there will come a time where I want to join an athletics club and I think this kind of program bridges that gap for beginners.

There are free resources from Moxiee Running such as their weekly running groups around Auckland for beginners and I go along to one of these, you don't have to be a client to participate.  There are also lots of videos and information on the Moxiee Running blog talking about tips and tricks, motivation, nutrition, goal setting etc.  There is also a free 2 week trial and you can sign up where ever you are in the world since it's all online.

Have you tried real world or online fitness coaching before?  If yes, what were your experiences? If no, would you ever consider it?

Currently In ... January

And just like that it's mid-January.  Goals and resolutions are still at the forefront of my mind, so my thoughts have tended to be in distance planning mode; there's quite a lot that I want to get accomplished this year.  Most of my friends only started back work this week, whilst lots of other people have gone or are still on their summer holidays.  January feels like a settling in/preparatory period after the new year gearing up to all systems go come February when the schools and universities go back and traffic chaos resumes.  Here's where I'm at currently:

Reading: Yay I finally finished Death of a Christmas Caterer and now I'm on The Method by Juli Zeh for a book club meet up I'm attending in February.

//Image from Goodreads

Watching: I've watched a couple of movies recently, one was Hot Pursuit which was silly and the other was Ant Man which was good fun.

Feeling: A little bit stressed out, it's been a weird week and my schedule's been all over the place so I'm really looking forward to a relaxing weekend! 

Thinking: That instead of buying a new hand bag I could just reduce the amount of stuff I carry around and switch to one I already own.

Anticipating: My first race of the year next week.  It's a 5k and some friends are doing it too so it's going to be fun.

//Image www.albanylakes.co.nz

Listening to: Spotify acoustic playlists.  I've been working out of my home office and it's nice to have some soft background music playing.

Planning: All The Races!  I need to rein myself in!  I've only purchased entry into a few so far and I have the trail series and two others in mind and I need to leave it at that.  I'm also looking at my training plan to see what I need to do there.

Working: On my goals for the year.  I'm just finishing up the decorating of the office, progress has been made in the garden and I've increased the distance on some of runs.  I'm considering adding in another run day.

Wanting: To try out more slow cooker recipes.  I really enjoyed the Mushroom Stroganoff recipe from Amuse Your Bouche, (even if I did use Philadelphia cream cheese instead of sour cream) and I loved how easy it is to set cooking and then go do other things.  I need to hit up the library for a recipe book like this one:

//Image from Amazon
Needing: A new wallet and a separate card wallet - it's ridiculous the amount of loyalty cards I have and tote around with me all the time.  I need a wallet for the basics and my current one with all the cards removed is all bent of out shape now.

Loving: My new sideboard - haha I'm like a real grown up :)  The old IKEA one is now in my office and the new one fits so well.

Grateful:  For bloggers. I'm still catching up on some blogs but I learn new things all the time.  This week I got a great list of self care things to try, a salad dressing recipe I want to make and I learned about the One Little Word project.

Wishing:  That summer wasn't rushing by so quickly, I haven't done any summery things yet but we have 2 public holidays on the first 2 Mondays of February and I plan to make the most of them :)

How's your January going?

How to Eat Cake Every Day and Lose Weight!

// Image taken by me on an evening walk this week
In November I read Rosemary Conley's Amazing Inch Loss Plan.  It states that you can lose 14lbs in a month on this plan and gives real world accounts of men and women of varying ages with varying amounts to lose who have all lost between 10 and 14 lbs in 4 weeks.
Back in the UK Rosemary Conley had a number of slimming club franchises and each followed a calorie controlled diet and after weigh-in there was a 45 minutes aerobics class.  Rosemary Conley's slimming empire went into receivership a few years ago, but the dieting principles remains.
The foundation of the diet is that you follow a calorie controlled diet and keep to under 5% fat with the exception of one high fat snack per day.  You're also expected to undertake 30 minutes of activity per day like walking and the book has daily body weight exercises that you should do for muscle toning.
In the first 2 weeks you stick with 1200 calories per day broken down like this:
200 cals - Dairy allowance
200 cals - Breakfast
50 cals - Morning snack
300 cals - Lunch
50 cals - Afternoon snack
400 cals - Dinner
Then in the following 2 weeks you go up to 1400 calories which gives you the following in addition to the above:
100 cals - low fat snack (less that 5%)
100 cals - high fat snack or alcohol
After the 4 weeks there are sex/age charts in the back of the book with the corresponding calorie intakes for continuing to lose weight at 1lb per week and for maintaining weight.
I chose this plan because heart health is important to me and this fits with the heart foundation guidelines.  It's calorie counting so it's easy to workout since most foods have those labels and especially easy using an app like MyFitnessPal.  I use the meal plans as inspiration rather than following then exactly so that way I can still make our favourites and try out some new things too.
For the first 2 weeks I stuck with the 1200 calories and tried out some of the suggested meals, but I don't eat yoghurt or have much soya milk so on some days my calories would fall closer to 1000 but on other days my meals would be slightly more or I'd have extra fruit and that would bring me to 1200.  One of the downsides of using MyFitnessPal is that calorie balance doesn't roll over to the next day so you need to keep a track of it yourself.
Over Christmas and New Year my calorie intake increased, exercise took a little break and my weight wobbled a little up and down but I wasn't depriving myself, and at no point did I feel like I was undoing my good work nor did I feel like giving up.  It was a positive experience where I could eat and drink what I wanted, enjoy it and then pick up the diet again the next day.
Last week Kane wanted to try making one of those boxed cake mixes.  The result was a beautiful strawberry cake with strawberry flavoured frosting - 400 calories per slice!  We just make sure that we get good filling meals that fit with the calorie allowance and I save all my snack calories for a delicious slice of cake in the evening.  So cake every evening AND I lost 5lbs!
Last night I had mushroom stroganoff with rice for dinner which came to 320 calories and I certainly felt full and satisfied with it.  I would not have felt that way if I'd had the 400 calorie cake slice for dinner - I would certainly have been hungry again soon after.  So whilst losing weight is definitely a numbers game, the type of food you spend your calories on influences how satisfied you feel and can either make you eat more or less.  
I have a lot more weight to lose and this journey is going to take a while so I'm glad to know that I can have celebratory treats and indulgences without stalling progress.
What is your favourite treat food or drink?  Do you have any hints or tips for weight loss?

2016 Goals

Happy New Year!

When I was little I remember my Mum and my older sisters thoroughly cleaning the house prior to the new years eve celebrations.  I have a very vivid memory of my sister Jacqueline, a petite 5 ft, standing on a stool to clean the tops of the kitchen wall cupboards and straining to reach the back of them :)  I think the New Year Clean is still a tradition in many households across Scotland and it's one I try to keep too, but this year I started to decorate my little office and, as hard as I tried to get it finished by new years eve, the project has continued into the new year.  I am truly amazed at the volume of stuff that has come out of this tiny room and is cluttering up my hallways and rooms.  I'm so glad that the final coat of paint has dried so I can put it back where it belongs (and I'm sure some of it belongs in the bin or the op shop).

When we moved in we planned to decorate the whole house, at some point, eventually, some day.  The trouble with loose goals like that is that they tend to drift from one year to the next.  However, I used to set myself too many goals and would feel disappointed when I couldn't achieve them all.  So I'm hoping to get the balance right this time by limiting to 4 main goals and I'm putting them here so that I have to be accountable!


Goal 1: Better activity/R&R balance.

I progressed from hermit couch potato to only being home 2 nights a week and I've learned that neither of these are good options for me.  It can be hard to turn down social invitations or let fun activity opportunities slide by, especially when other people manage it all so easily!  But it's not fun for anyone when I get burned out and I need to learn my own limits.  In an effort to find balance I'm limiting myself to only 3 extracurricular activities a week.  This doesn't include my morning runs or lunchtime yoga.  It does include choir, ice skating, Lions club, concerts, Saturday morning meet ups and market days, and any other social invitation that I receive.

That will free up time for indulgent baths, reading, stove top coffee, growing vegetables, colouring in, crafting and all that other good stuff.

I'll see how it goes for the next 3 months and then revise if necessary.

Goal 2: Decorating

I'm hoping to finish decorating the office this week and then my next decorating goal is the guest bedroom.  It's a bigger room than the office but it should (hopefully) be easier since I'm not removing wall paper or painting doors and trim.  I'm giving myself the whole year to complete this task but my sister Jacqueline is planning to visit this year and it would be nice to have painted for her visit.

Goal 3: Garden Maintenance

While I was working at decorating the office, Kane was out working at trying to find the garden under all the weeds and long grass!  It already looks so much better, but my goal for the year is to get the garden back to basics and maintain this for the year.  If things get planted that's a bonus, but the focus needs to be on forming a maintenance habit.  If I end 2016 with weed free garden beds, clear paths and mowed green grass then this will be a success.

Goal 4: Run a Half Marathon

I have a 5k, 2 x 10ks, and an 8k signed up for already but the real goal here is to maintain a consistent training regime and then train and run the Auckland Half Marathon on 30th October.


I can see that these goals rely on consistency and this is where having a narrow focus is better for me that trying to accomplish too many things.  I hope that these are within my capabilities now I've put them out there, it will be very embarrassing if at the end of the year I haven't progressed!

How's your year going so far? Have you set any goals or resolutions for 2016?

December: Meals, Miles, Books and Looks



In November I read Rosemary Conley's Amazing Inch Loss Plan and I started to follow the principles outlined in the book, which is a low saturated fat calorie controlled diet combined with daily activity.  I haven't followed the specific exercise plan and some of the menus use products not available to me but the idea is clear and simple to follow so I haven't found it difficult to adapt for me.  Since I've been using MyFitnessPal for calorie counting I thought I'd share with you the calorie count of each of these meals.

1. Calamari, chips and salad (480 calories)
2. Hot dogs and Heineken Light (633 calories)
3. Tuna niçoise salad (280 calories)
4. Cajun trevally, asparagus, courgettes and roast capsicum (222 calories)


1. Quorn bacon, lettuce and tomato with mayo on a baguette (472 calories)
2. Egg fried rice (484 calories)
3. Boiled egg and toast (154 calories)

1. Calamri, kumara chips and salad (440 calories)
2. Orkney oatcakes, cream cheese and smoked salmon (353 calories)
3. Quorn swedish meatballs with lingonberry jam, cream gravy, potatoes and cabbage (433 calories)
4. Cajun snapper, grilled asparagus, tomatoes and courgette (143 calories)

1. Quorn turkey steak with vegetables and cranberry sauce (419 calories)
2. Sardine tacos with mango salsa and cabbage (259 calories)
3.Starbucks panettone latte (about 240 calories)
4. Rum stollen (half of this is about 398 calories)

I didn't follow the plan at all on Christmas day but I still kept a count of what I ate.  I can see why the diet gurus tell you to keep a food diary because it really does help keep you aware of what and how much you're eating.

1. Christmas breakfast of mini bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon (262 calories)
2. Christmas dinner starter of prawn cocktail (159 calories)
3. Main course of Quorn turkey steaks with roast potatoes, maple glazed roast carrots, beans and cranberry sauce and gravy (781 calories)
4. Traditional dessert of Christmas pudding à la Mode (475 calories)

1. Sparkling sauvignon blanc with iced cranberry juice hearts (128 calories)
2. Ritter sport assortment
3. Orkney fudge (gift from Kanes parents)
4. I didn't eat this!  This is my cats special Christmas food - they loved it!

Miles: 49.7 km

I'm really starting to build good running habits which is just as well because I've signed up for a 5k in January, 2 x 10ks in February and an 8k in March.  I've been running once a week with a beginners morning group that my coach has organised as well as following the plan he's given me.  Yoga is going great and I can see some improvement, eventually I'd like to add in some other strength training but right now I really feel it the day after yoga so I know I'm getting a good workout there.


December has been a weak reading month for me.  I've started reading my Christmas mystery and I have a small pile of library books that I feel many of them will be getting returned unread!

I'm gearing up for a new Goodreads challenge though.  Last year I challenged myself to read 12 books since I've been out of the habit of reading for a very long time, this year I'm going for 24.


I love where I live but it could be infinitely better if there was an IKEA and a GAP!  And maybe a Costco.  We got a Top Shop earlier this year, we're getting an H&Ms in 2016 and Ben & Jerry's has just opened a store so we're not totally deprived .. but I digress.  For the past couple of years we have bought GAP stuff from the US in their black Friday sales and had them shipped to us.  I was so happy to get these plaid pyjama pants in time for Christmas, I teamed the red pair with a black T shirt with Santa on it for my Christmas morning, present opening attire.  The white ones I saved for New Years day.

The jeans, thick socks and leather gloves will have to wait until summer is over before I can wear them!

Happy New Year!  Have you tried calorie counting before?  What store would you find it hard to live without?

2015 Retrospective


1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?
I had never done any trail running before and, not knowing where to start, I entered the short distance of the XTERRA series and really enjoyed it.   

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't think I made any specific goals other than to read 12 books in the year and I achieved that.  I plan to make a goal of reading 24 books next year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My sister-in-law had a little boy and our friends Sharon and Gerard had a little girl.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What places did you visit?
Kane and I went to Rotorua with Kane's parents and went to Te Puia.  We went to Puhoi when my parents came to visit.  We went to the Great Pumpkin Carnival in Hamilton and the Amazing Maze in Maise.  We also went to Whitianga and Cathedral Cove for Kane's birthday and we got to see some of the amazing forest parks and trails.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
I don't feel like I lacked anything in 2015.  I would like to generate some side hustle ideas in 2016 though, they are being elusive.

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
My memory sucks, so no dates stand out but there have been lots of good times this year.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year
Performing with my Sing! choir and No Fella A cappella choir at our concert.  The a cappella songs were the hardest and most nerve-wracking but ultimately the most rewarding and I'm so pleased to have done it.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Oh dear, last year I said it was the garden and I'm ashamed to say it's the garden again.  Having a beautiful garden brings me joy, so this must be a priority for the coming year.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I fell off my bike at the start of January and then at the end of the month I got knocked off by a car!

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My fast slow cooker - it's a pressure cooker, steamer and slow cooker in one.  I use the pressure function mostly and it's awesome!  I've also made a few batches of this slow cooker marinara sauce from budget bytes.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Kane began the year moving into a contact role and then after 6 months landed a permanent role doing something he loves that is also challenging.  He worked really hard for it and I'm so pleased for him.

We also got to celebrate New Zealand winning the rugby world cup and we had met one of the players, Jerome Kaino,  at a special event at Kane's work the month before.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
With recent world events, there have been a lot of bigotry, racist comments, fear mongering and a general lack of empathy and of course there's Donald Trump.  Our PM John Key is always doing something appalling and that makes me unhappy :(

14. Where did most of your money go?
On flights to Scotland for next July (yay!)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Going to see Eddie Izzard!  He's a funny man and it was such an awesome show - I'm so glad we got the opportunity.  We went to a lot of good shows and concerts this year.

16. What songs will always remind you of 2015?
Pedro by Lily the Kid, The songs I sing with my choir, and songs from Taylor Swifts album 1989.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder?

b) thinner or fatter? Same

c) richer or poorer? Poorer (see no.14 haha)

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Self care!  I was too focused on doing stuff that any down time I had I was too exhausted to enjoy it.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Nothing in particular, for the coming year I just need do a little less in order to create space for self care.

20. How did you spend Christmas in 2015?
It was a fairly chilled out day.  I got a colouring book and pencils and spent a fair portion of the afternoon doing that before making a Christmas feast.
21. Did you fall in love in 2015?
I love my little family unit of Kane and our two cats.

22. What was your favourite TV program?
Friday Night Lights, Community, Limitless, Sens8, Jessica Jones and Game of Thrones.

23. What did you do for your birthday in 2015?
I went to a Canadian deli for lunch and in the evening went to a pub quiz and drank lots of Guinness and rum.  We also won the quiz which was awesome!

24. What was the best book you read?
The Silver Bough by F. Marian McNeill.  It's a non-fiction book about Scottish traditions that I got from the library.  There are 3 or 4 volumes and I think I will buy them as they are full of useful references.

25. What did you want and get?
A dala horse.

26. What did you want and not get?
A kitten (but I don't know how my two cats would like that)

27. What was your favourite film of this year?
Star Wars!

28. Did you make some new friends this year?
Choir friends and Saturday SciFi meetup friends.

29.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I would have been great if we could have finished decorating the office.  We've worked really hard, especially these last 3 days, but there is still more to do before its finished.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
Comfortably casual with some active wear thrown in.

31. What kept you sane?
Comfort food and naps.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I'm not really one to get those sort of crushes.  I did like Taylor Kitsch in True Detective, that's close.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?
The biggest political issue we faced was the flag referendum - and it's still going.

34. Who did you miss?
My husband and cats - when I get busy for a few days in a row I really miss spending time with them!

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
My garden is teaching me a lesson or two about the perils of procrastination!