Thursday, 30 June 2011

The Running Diaries: Part "New Plan, New Start."

 


Today's Run.


After my 10k and a few realisations, I decided to start a new running plan.


I haven't run since Saturday, so today was the day to put the trainers back on & face facts. A big fact - that in 12 weeks time I will be running a Half Marathon, therefore avoiding running like the plague is no way to prepare.


I don't know if it was my 10k time, the fact I don't know the length of kilometer from my elbow or how much I generally hurt after, that has put me off / demotivated me, but whatever I have, is not a great feeling.


I have a lot to be happy and proud about - today, for example, I ran that 5k without stopping, which honestly is a first for me. My entire training has been run / walk based, so to step back on the treadmill on an incline and just run, was really quite a miracle. But I wasn't happy, or proud. I was a sweaty hot, mess (nothing unusual there!) my run seemed to take twice as long thanks to a reset Nike+ and the treadmill decided to add on another mile just to confuse the crap out of me.


New plan, new start.


However, I clearly have a lot more power in these legs than I realised. I did the 5k today, I did the 10k Saturday.  I can do this.


New life.


As part of my new plan I have decided that I will run the entire half marathon. Initially I intended on doing a run / walk system, but after a bit of a disaster trial run on Race Day I have decided to sack that off. (It's just too difficult for me to focus on the task, and constantly be checking a clock at the same time. Multi-tasking is not my friend.)


There really is no reason I can't do this.


It's all now just down to a battle of mental & physical preparation, so welcome to my new life -




  • Monday - Spinning

  • Tuesday - Run

  • Wednesday - Pilates

  • Thursday - Run

  • Friday - REST

  • Saturday - Long Run

  • Sunday - REST / XT / Swim


I will not be unprepared for this Race! No sir.  My life has become a mix of gym, gym, gym, sweat & pain and I intend on keeping it that way at least until September.


As much as I'm feeling a tiny bit "meh" at the moment, I think this plan should really work, fingers crossed!!! *trying to motivate myself in the process*


Lets go xo


http://www.justgiving.com/teambangsontherun2

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Sunday, 26 June 2011

The Candy Shack

Last week I headed over to my sisters shop, Candy Shack in Headingley to take some snaps for their up & coming website.


Here are some of the final photos!










We had lots of fun throwing jelly beans about, measuring things & generally, um... eating stock, shh....


So Leeds people, check out the shop at 18a Otley Road, Headingley, in between Subway & The Box !


Or, become a Fan on Facebook!


xo

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Indoor vs. Outdoor


As most of you know, yesterday I ran 10k, and it was so much more difficult than I expected.


I think this is down to a few things and they will all be things I won't do to train for my Half Marathon, so here we go -




  1. The main thing - electronics are not my friend. Treadmills, Nike+; I don't think I could have hated either more than I did that day.


I trained, and I liked to think I trained hard, for this 10k. I had an injury which stopped me for a month, but all in all, I had been running for nearly 4 months to improve my fitness for this run, enough time, surely? Well apparently not when everything you rely on to tell you more or less the truth is completely wrong.

A major mistake of mine I think has been training on a treadmill. Yes, I am still running, still gaining in speed & distance, but I'm in an air conditioned gym, the incline has been at 0.0 (stupid me) and clearly it is a lot easier to pace yourself. As I realised yesterday, you have none of this when you run a race.

The treadmill also likes to tell you that you have run further than you actually have. Oh, and so does my Nike+. During my 10k I had just passed the 6k mark and I decided to have a quick look at my sportsband to see how many miles I was on, it was telling me I had run 5.7 miles (9k+ equivalent)  I knew I had a lot longer to go and it messed up my focus completely. I wanted to think I had nearly finished, but I had only just passed half way. I couldn't believe it.

I had been relying on my Nike+ band and the treadmill to give me a guesstimate of what I could do the race in. The week before, I had run just over "5 miles" in 45 minutes, I was amazed & proud. Race day, I finished 5 miles in an hour. The km's seemed literally miles apart, but I now know that is normal, not what I did on the treadmill.

My time on the day was 1hr 15 minutes. I'm still struggling to be completely happy with that, but considering I've never run quite what I thought, I guess I will learn to accept it. There are always other races.

Overall - relying on gadgets fucked up my timing. Basically I feel like launching my Nike+ off the balcony (but I won't because it cost too much) and never stepping foot on a treadmill again.



2.  "Uneven surfaces" - they weren't kidding. Temple Newsam had me running up hills, through mud, on grass, on pavement, down hills, in puddles & over potholes... My face was a little something like this ;

image


Now in Spain I did a combination of treadmill and outdoor running. I always found outdoor running more difficult due to hayfever, asthma & generally dodging old Spanish folk that suddenly stop to chat. Plus, there are things I like to call invisible hills - they don't look like hills, but you know your pushing your hardest just to put one foot in front of the other.

When I came back to Leeds 3 weeks ago, I joined a gym and stuck religiously to the treadmill.

Wrong move.

Race Day, by 1km, had me realise the importance of running / training outside.

The first hill was a slap in the face,"I'VE NEVER DONE HILL TRAINING, BITCH!" - if my legs could talk, this is what they would have said. Panic set in and my focus was out from then on. I knew there were more hills to come and all I could do was keep going. I was gutted.

Another reason to train outside is the weather, especially the lovely British weather we have here. Luckily, Race Day weather wasn't too bad, but it definitely wasn't as comfortable as the insides of Esporta. Humid, rain clouds, showers, blaring hot sun, wind, I basically got it all apart from a downpour and thunder & lightning.

So what will I do? 

I will never be unprepared again.

We have our Half Marathon coming up, and you never know how many hills, bumps & lumps are in such a thing, so from now on Hill Training is part of my plan, that, or jumping on the treadmill at incline 10.

I will go running through fields, parks, roads to make sure my feet & legs are ready for some uneven surfaces.

I will run in all weather types. Sunshine, rain (more likely to be the latter, lets face it, it is the UK) snow, hail, thunder. Whatever it takes.

I would hate to turn up in London and feel as unprepared as I didn't realise I was yesterday.

My 10k wasn't a negative experience, not at all, I'm grateful for everything I've realised whilst doing it, I just need to move my ass through all weather types & possibly buy a map to work out my distance rather than technology!

No pain, no gain :)

Lets go.
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Saturday, 25 June 2011

First Race - Check!

It's done, it's over. I'm still alive.


Today I ran my furthest run ever. The Race for Life 10k.



I've posted about why I started running back in February (click to read) & I have been nervous about this race possibly since I signed up (and then even more so when someone mentioned the "huge hill" I had no idea about!) So when today came around, I definitely had a fair few butterflies kicking about.



I guess a lot of the nerves come down to the fact that it was my first ever race. Something tells me I should have started with something such as, oh a 5k, but I like a good challenge.




[caption id="attachment_495" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Looking special."][/caption]

10am came around quickly, I had been there since 9am, pinning on signs, being excited / nervous and generally wondering where on Earth this route was going to take me.


A good thing that calmed my nerves was that it is "Race For Life," it's family friendly & women of all abilities showed up. It made me feel more relaxed but in between that and a "funky feet" warm up I don't think my head was completely where it should have been by the time I was at the "Start" point.




[caption id="attachment_497" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption=""Warm up" or, make yourself look like an idiot."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_496" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="My "WTF is Funky Feet?" face."][/caption]

I got the choice of "Runners," "Joggers," and "Walkers." ... I can't be on Team Bangs on the Run  and not opt for the Runners column, so off I went after a split decision to join them.




[caption id="attachment_499" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Starting point."][/caption]

Amazingly Vicky, an old friend of my Dads & mine, found me at the start, it wasn't long before we lost each other (she was fast!) but it was so nice to see a friendly face there who was doing the same thing.

Then I was on my own. 

The very first part of the course was up-hill. That, did not fill me with confidence, but I kept going. I stuck to my run four minutes, walk quickly one for the first part but it didn't take long for me to realise just how difficult this was about to be. Training inside and running outside are two completely different things.

1k - 2k I ran up the hill, full of adrenaline and spurred on by all the other female runners, I tried to keep up, but I knew I needed to be true to myself and stick to what I'd practised. It was between these two km's that I realised, "Wait a minute, why are these km's so far apart?" I felt like I'd been running forever but the distance between the sign posts wasn't getting any shorter.

3k - 4k I was pacing with a girl by this point, we were just about running at the same pace and I settled into a nice routine. Still, I was panicking that the km's were seriously further apart than I thought. I was about 30 minutes in and beginning to struggle, but by 4k I  had my boyfriend cheering me on, the first friendly face so far, that definitely kept me going.

5k - 6k I had grabbed a drink at the 3 mile point and my confidence in finishing the race any time soon was out of the window. I think I even gave the water-girl a look of "why the hell am I doing this?". I felt like I should have finished, but no. I was slipping further back and probably being over-taken by people who started in the jogger group - but then finally, a down hill part! I was so pleased, I ran down the entire thing, not paying attention to my run four, walk one system.

7k - 8k Where was 7k? Up the biggest hill I'd ever seen. I had just run down to be forced back up again. I remember giving out a massive sigh & "ffs" whilst talking to myself. I'd just ran through mud, been over taken by a small child and didn't feel like I could take much more. I checked my Nike+ sportsband,"5.7 miles" it said, lies, I was nowhere near finished. 8k also saw the presence of my inhailer that I'd been carrying in my butt pocket. Defeat & tears that were wanting to come out resulted in some difficult breathing.

9k - THANK THE LORD! My hair had fallen out of place, I was splattered with mud, my legs were cramping, I couldn't breathe, I was pretty much a big, hot mess, but seeing that sign and "Time" by Chase & Status blasting out of my iPod  spurred me on completely to give the last km all I had. The route meant you came out round a corner, the first person I saw was Vicky, she had finished, I kept running, people were clapping, the DJ was talking crap, I kept running...

10k - Could This Be Real? - Sub Focus starts up, I am actually questioning whether this whole thing is real and I've actually nearly finished. I see my boyfriend, try to smile for the camera, clearly got distracted something, shiny? I dont know. I see my dad, my grandma, my uncle, my cousin & a curly haired little dog. By then, I'd done it, I had passed the finish line! My dad shouts "keep running!" - no thanks, I'd passed, I couldn't wait to stop. 1hr 15 minutes of running, jogging, walking, struggling. I was done.


I went on to the end and picked up my medal and goody bag, plus a bottle of water they had been ranting about all day - that got drank quicker than I could say "Hi" to anyone.


Then came some tears. I'm not sure if it was disbelief, relief or just every emotion from that day hitting me in the face, but either way, they were mainly happy tears and I'm pretty sure I wasn't the only one there that shed a few.


I said bye to everyone and shuffled on back up the hill to the car park.


It was over.




[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="299" caption="My name is on there!"][/caption]



I'm so happy I did it, it was a bigger struggle than I expected, why? well I'll post that another day.


Right now, its all about relaxing and eating foods I haven't eaten for the past couple of months I've been training (mm, pizza)


All in all, a great, eye-opening experience.


Heres to the next one xo


http://www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/samantharaceforlife2011

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Monday, 20 June 2011

Who, What, Where, When, Why?

You may have heard me mention a little thing called -


TEAM BANGS ON THE RUN!



look at those gorgeous faces!


Yes, I have already done a (very excitable) post on this amazing team of ours, but its time to break it down so that everyone understands, quite literally; who, what, where, when and why!




  • WHO - Well look above, get clicking those photos to follow us on Twitter! Left to right, Muireann Carey-Campbell, Michelle Allen, Tahirah Edwards Byfield, Candice Brown-Brathwaite, Jayne Hardy, Cassandra Denton, Lauren Busby, Samantha Collier, Elle Hankinson, Amy Baker, Sarah Williams, Kelly Peel, Jo Gifford & Yours Truly! We're a team of 14 women, organised by the one & only BangsAndABun, situated all over the UK, ranging in age & abilities, but we all have one interest in common- running.



  • WHAT - Run to the Beat Half Marathon. 13 miles of pavement to be pounded by our kitted out feet (plus 17,000 others!). It's not just your average Half Mara, this one has live bands & music as we run through the new areas, starting and finishing at the O2.




  • WHERE - London town! Where else?





  • WHEN - 25th September, 2o11. Giving us... *pauses to count* 14 weeks to get fully prepared! Eek.





  • WHY - The most important "W"... Why, well first of all, we're raising money for the very worthy charity, Refuge. A charity that provides safe houses and emergency accommodation for women and children when they are most in need and suffering from domestic violence. A charity that is close to our hearts, so please, please help us raise as much money as possible, anything down to pounds or pennies, every little helps and you can do so here -> http://www.justgiving.com/teambangsontherun2



Every woman in this team has their own personal reason for doing this half marathon. I can only explain mine...

Really it comes down to the fact that I have legs, and they work.


Following a sudden and extremely sad death of a loved one in my family I decided to sign up Race For Life to raise money for Breast Cancer Research, but not just the 5k, I wanted to aim for the 10k.


Before this I'd never run anything in my life, not even for a bus.


I knew it would be a challenge, but what has kept me going is that; I'm alive, I have my health, I have two perfectly functioning legs, what is really going to stop me? Well, nothing.


I want to prove to myself, for once, that I can do this. That I can be good at something, something challenging that I wont give up on, won't quit half-way. Something that will improve my life for the better, my health, my body issues, my confidence and over-all help others.


If I can just inspire one other person to run, I will be happy. I know how much it has helped me so far and will continue to do so, it is only doing good in my life.


And so, I am excited for what is to come :)


I had my 10k on Saturday, It was difficult, but I did it. I now have less than 14 weeks to get to super-hero, ass kicking, half marathon status, and trust me when I say this is going to be a whole other adventure on its own.


Keep your eyes peeled! And pleasee help us out in the mean time!





click to sponsor!

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Sunday, 19 June 2011

Moving (again)

I'm leaving Blogger! Sorry *pats*

But I'm in love with my new, shiny, self-named blogpage www.samantha-avena.com on Wordpress.

I feel like I'm leaving a partner. Its been fun blogger, but I'm moving on to better things.

Feel free to join me over there!

Love,

Sam xo
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Saturday, 18 June 2011

Changing places.


As you can see, I'm now over here on the lovely WordPress!

My www.sas-seville.blogspot.com is still available, however I've imported all my old posts from over there, magically to over here! (HTML skillz, I know) Hurrah!

I'm still figuring out layouts, what this is all going to be about and how we're going to do this, but in the mean time feel free to catch up on some old news and / or sponsor me if you so wish, for my 10k that is slowly creeping its way up *cough* next saturday *cough* so any support is muchly appreciated :)

Anyway, hasta luego for now! Blogging as normal to continue shortly.

Love, from the new home xo
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Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The Running Diaries: Part "Wow, thats dedication."


Um... YAAAAAYY! Longest run so far!
6.93km / 4.3 miles, (or 7km give or take) 39 minutes, Avg pace 5'38"/km, 541 calories burnt. Toma!

I did 4 minute run, 1 minute power walk for 40 minutes and this was the result. I am really, really happy with it (if you can't tell). Even more so, that I know I could have kept going, but I'm sticking to my plan, I'll aim for 5 miles on Friday before tapering for the race.

I saw my personal trainer in the gym, I told him how after the hour workout yesterday it now hurts when I sneeze (really quite annoying when you've got hayfever) - he said, "well its good to see you back in the gym. I'm impressed, that's dedication." - Aw yeah.


But actually I really am dedicated to this now. More than I've possibly ever been dedicated to anything in my life. It's great to see those little orange lines grow in strength, time & consistency. It's great just to prove to myself that I'm doing it, doing something I thought of as impossible a few months back. Don't get me wrong, there's still a loooooong way to go and many more sweaty miles, but for me, right now, this is proving a lot to myself, (and you know, if I can prove the odd person wrong here & there I'll be even happier).

Anyway, another happy run :) I'm feeling more prepared now for the Race next Saturday and actually wanting to do it. It will be an eventful day, to say the least.

Fingers crossed for Friday & a 5 mile target! xo
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Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Little Changes.

Race day is coming up - it's making me realise a few things.



Oh, how things have changed!

Today it's t-10 days until my 10k... I think my heart just attempted to beat its way out of my chest. 
I'm scared. I'm excited. I'm scared. I'm excited.  It's my first race - ever, its my first attempt at proving to myself I can do this and its my first 10k, 6 miles - that I haven't actually run yet (I know, I know, shh..) 

It's 4 months since I decided to sign up for Race For Life & I haven't regretted it one bit. Every single time I run I am happy & (most of the time) impressed with myself. Who knew just putting one foot in front of the other often & consistently would lead to me being able to run 5k's (yes, plural!) when 4 months ago I wouldn't even jog for a bus, walk (willingly) more than a mile or exercise in general? I'm happy just at the fact I've finally managed to stick to something I said I would do, and low & behold, it's next week *more heart beating*

Running has changed a lot of things for me, the way I think, the way I feel & I'm constantly learning and that is something as a bit of a not-so-secret geek, that always pleases me! One book I would recommend is "Go Faster Food", by Kate Percy. I've been reading it like a woman possessed, reading bits out loud probably to the annoyance of anyone near by and making notes of recipes I want to try. 

Currently hooked on - weetabix, strawberries, blueberries, natural honey & a splash of milk. Mm, mmm.
This week I've been working hard in the gym, had a personal trainer session that nearly killed me / nearly made me vomit all over the mat and tomorrow I intend on doing the same again, aiming for 3 miles Wednesday, 5 miles Friday & then let the taper-ing begin for the race on Saturday!

Eek!

Fingers crossed & send me some luck!
xo
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Friday, 10 June 2011

I went home today

to see this fluffy little face.
my favourite old lady.
13 years young, as deaf as a block of wood yet still has as much energy as ever.



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Thursday, 9 June 2011

The Running Diaries: Part "Kit #1 - THE BRA."

First of all - this happened today.


I joined a gym. Dum dum dum! And actually, it has been a great experience so far.
The only other gym I have ever joined was in Estepa, the classes were in Spanish and "sube la montana" while spinning was never a good thing to hear. I figured if I can do it in another language, another country, then I surely can do it in the UK. And so I have. The gym is amazing, the people are (possibly a little bit over) friendly and the equipment looks like it is going to work wonders for me.

I walk into the gym to get my run on and within 5 seconds I see at least 5 women not wearing a sports bra.
... WHY? HOW?! I have no idea, but it definitely makes me pull a cringe-y face.

I, personally, love my sports bra, its possibly the comfiest bra I own in general and keeps "the girls" industrially strapped where they belong.
Its Nike, DriFit and made for running/intense work out, it also comes in back/cup size so it fits like a glove. (running is classed as extreme in the bra world!)
I have also heard good things about bra's from Shock Absorber & you can find the ideal bra for you over on Boobydoo!
This isn't my exact one, but I just spent longer than I should searching for DriFit bras on Google.
I'm sure some women don't realise, I know when I started going running* about 2 years ago, I wouldn't wear one, it wouldn't even cross my mind, but now I'm seeing sports-bra-less women so often I just want to spread the word a little, doing all girls & their girls a favour in the long run *pardon the pun

Boobies move, a lot, when you exercise. A bounce that normal bra's can't handle, so ladies, please please invest in a bra suitable for what you're doing! It will save many a black eye & droopy melons. And nobody wants any of that.

Love & secure-ness, Sam xo

*I say running, it was more like a jog, once every blue moon, while wearing what I can now only think of as ridiculous - normal tops, normal bra, cargo pants (?!) and pumps... pumps. No wonder my ankle is fcuked.


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Wednesday, 8 June 2011

New Beginnings.

And I'm back!



Back in Leeds, back where I belong, back with six suitcases of crap from Spain, and now its time to start a whole new adventure!

The week so far.
I've been back here now 3 days and I'm just about completely settled. 
I've been doing the usual; catching up with family, friends & reminding my brain that people don't speak Spanish here, (dear bus driver - sorry I said "gracias" yesterday). 

I've also been looking into gyms. I think this is what i'm most excited about at the moment. Tomorrow I will be heading to "Esporta" to sign up and fully get into my Team Bangs on The Run kick-my-own-ass training. 
Yay! Bring on the running, pilates & spinning.

Overall, I do love Leeds, being back in the city centre, being able to get to the shops in 5 minutes rather than 2 hours, but ... just one thing I've noticed, ahem ...

  •  LEEDS PEOPLE - SMILE MORE. 
Everyone looks so miserable here. I never noticed before, but being in the sunshine-y, happy people land of Spain, I am very aware at the moment how serious & um, up their own arses everyone seems here. Its unbelievable, but otherwise, I am loving everything else.

I'm excited for what this summer has to come & even though it has rained every single day since I've been back, it is lovely to finally be home.

xo
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Sunday, 5 June 2011

Dear, Estepa.

So this is it!
9 months / 36 weeks / 252 days ... no I'm not talking about a pregnancy. 


It's time to leave Estepa.


And what an amazing, roller coaster 9 months it has been...

I don't really think I can put into words the amount this year has inspired me, challenged me, helped me and generally changed me for the better, but I will try to do it justice.

First, I need to start with -

- these people.
 You are what made this experience so much more than I could have ever hoped.
Danica, Rachel, Nick, Mike, Paulina, Charlene, Marion, Teresa, Christy, Sarah, Kat & Julie
- I will miss you all, so much, along with your confusing American sayings, UK vs. USA English, "have you got a rubber?" & so on and so forth.

I have learnt a lot from you all, and you made this adventure even more special.

The school.

I don't think I could, ever, possibly, have been put in a better, fun-loving school than IES La Roda...

The children are amazing, the staff are wonderful and the teachers have inspired me to teach.
I have gained so much valuable experience from everyone there that is truly priceless.

I also learnt to speak up if someone takes your toast.



Break-time.

Manolo and his coffee (that is apparently the best, I still - do not like coffee, one thing Spain could not change), and media con tomates every busy break-time, the old crazy men that practically live there, the "WOOPAH" noise he makes when I say I dont want my 20cent change, the man that reminds me of a crab; who cleans up after 10 or more teachers bombard the smallest place in the world, who then gets paid in alcohol for his work - thank you all for being so entertaining.

The adventures.
Which looks a little something like this.


If anyone (other than me) has followed this blog all the way through, I think its fair to say I've traveled a fair amount -

Granada, Orgiva, Lisboa (Portugal), Cadiz, Mijas Costa, Marbella, Porto Banus, Madrid, Barcelona, Benicásim, Valencia, Sevilla, Cordoba, Nerja, Santiago de Compostela, Antequera, Malaga, Ronda, Cabra & of course, Estepa & La Roda de Andalucia. 


I can leave knowing I've visited every city I had on my list and I loved them all.


Overall.



An experience that has quite literally been a dream come true.
Since I was little, right through to my teens; I wanted to live in Spain. To speak the language, eat tapas; everyday, dress up in a traje de gitana and live in a white painted flat. All of those things I have done this year (maybe not the tapas bit - obesity stopped me).




If there's anything I've learnt it is that -

  • No matter how hard a challenge is, keep going.
  • Practise makes perfect, or it will at least improve your spanish, a lot.
  • When one thing ends in life, another begins.
  • Be true to yourself, live your dreams & really experience life.
  • Finally, always do what makes you happy, because that is whats most important.

As clichéd as a lot of that sounds (cheese city, I know) these are my new rules for life.
I have learnt not only the language here, but a million more things I never expected, and for that I am truly grateful...

Dear Estepa, 
Thank you for being one of the best homes I've ever had...
And as Charlene would say ... "Guys! It's just a goodbye!"




(a little video of all the months here - photo form :))


Adios España...
It's been amazing.
Besos, Sam xo
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