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Longest jog so far!

March 25, 2013

Not a bad week training week considering the weather. So after the disaster of the bike incident on the Saturday, I decided to take to the hills on Monday and living in Leenane, there are no lack of hills to climb! So I literally walked out my back door and up the hill beside my house. Did better than I expected, got up it a lot faster than I thought. Didn’t make it to the top. Was ragging when I got back down and realised how close I was to the top. Definitely use different muscles going up the hills than to jogging, so need to get more hill climbing in.

Went to Zumba again on Tuesday. Bodytoning was cancelled so during the week I did some kettle bells and sit-ups to keep my core going. Find that both of these are very handy to do and doesn’t take up too much time. Particularly the kettlebells, which you can do while watching TV and it gets your heart rate going.

Before the weather changed and to take advantage of the brighter evenings, I got a jog in on Wednesday. I decided to jog home from work. It is about 5km in distance and I have to admit that it is mainly down hill, but it would be the longest jog that I would have taken on so far. Again I surprised myself with this. My breathing, which was always my bad thing, was fine and my legs felt good! I had to stop about 200 mts from home due to stitch in side, which was disappointing!

Took a rest day on Thursday.

On Friday the weather was dreadful. We had a kayak club rolling session in the pool so I went a bit earlier and got about a half hour swim in before hand. I always like swimming, even though I’m not very good. With the bit of extra fitness from the training, I thought I would be flying up and down the pool, but no I was more like a slow frog!  Was interesting to see how sometimes the fitness doesn’t cross over

Took weekend off.

So where do I think I’m at now? I’m very happy with being able to jog a lot more than I expected. It hasn’t become a natural or automatic to thing to get out and exercise yet but, I do enjoy it when I get out. Would definitely find it harder to get out if I didn’t have the challenge at the end. I think after Connemara Adventure Challenge, I will need to set myself a new mission! My main aim still hasn’t changed, and that is getting over the finish line. I’m not bothered by how long it will take or who will do it faster than me. I know that I will definitely get over the finish line, I maybe crawling but I will make it. I do need to get longer distances into my training though and also to carry mandatory kit with me while training.

On another positive, my body is alot more toned and I seem to have lost weight.


Bike Trouble!

March 25, 2013

Slow start to the week. Took Monday off and then wasn’t feeling great on Tuesday so didn’t make it out.

On Wednesday I took to the hills again. Did much better this time. Before I was out of breath just making my way across the bog to get to the hill and this time round I was fine. I also made it further up the hill than the last time too. Could have gone further but have to admit I got bored! I’m hoping that with more people around on the day it will push me.

Thursday was a great day and definitely made me feel very proud of myself and see what I had achieved in such a short time. I had decided to set myself the small challenge of trying to jog 2.5km non-stop. I knew I would find it hard if I had to retrace my steps on the jog so I got one of the girls to drop me down the forest, 2.5km from the centre – It’s always easier to jog home!

I really surprised myself. The hills that I had fretted about 6 weeks ago, and had to walk up, – I didn’t even notice them! I reached the centre, after being hail stoned on, and felt great, I could have continued on even further. This was a great feeling and I’m really surprised that I have come so far in such a short time.

I know 2.5km doesn’t sound like a lot but when you haven’t done it in nearly 15 years it feels like a marathon!

Took Friday off as I knew I had a big day ahead on Saturday.

As I said a few weeks ago, my taking part in the challenge had spurred a friend of mine to also final take up the challenge! So we had decided to cycle the whole cycle section of the Connemara Adventure Challenge course.

We were blessed with the weather, not a bit of rain or wind! So after organising ourselves we set off on the Coillte track. This is all the off road section, with not too many hills. We were doing well, not as fast as we would have liked but the legs where holding up well!

We had both been dreading the road section, firstly because it is a lot more open to any wind and also, for me, that I always seem to push myself more on the road as people can see me! Anyway we were doing fine, and then my friend stated “my bike feels drunk!” (she will kill me for writing that!). I was behind, had a quick look at her tyres and told her they seemed fine! We lasted about 3 more minutes before I looked again and said “ No, it’s f**ked, you have a puncture!”.

So we pulled over and the next think she said was, “what are we going to do if this happens on race day?” We had no way of changing tube or even a repair kit! We were the cliché – Damsels in Distress! Must make mental note to learn how to change a tube!

So as our knight in shining armour (AKA my other half), came to our rescue, we made the decision to try and walk/jog the road back to our car – this is about 6.5km. I hadn’t done any training going from cycling to jogging, and my legs weren’t happy about it! And of course to make it harder on us the first 2km are hilly!

My legs did eventually start to come around and I made it about 2km before having to stop, stretch and walk about 100m before getting back in to a jog. Made it about another 2km before having to change to a fast walk for the few kms home!

Was really glad that we hadn’t just taken the easy option and got dropped home and also that I was sore the next day.

Upwards and onwards from here!

Injuries Galore this week!

March 12, 2013

Knee was acting up this week so was taking it easy with the jogging.


Took Monday off. Had chat with an ex-physio work colleague, explained the type of pain and she said the best thing to do was to rest it and that it only sounded like muscle. Really wanted to take to the hill this week but wasn’t going to happen.

Just went to Zumba on Tuesday as didn’t want to do too much exercise but also didn’t want to loss momentum.

Wednesday I went for a cycle up the forest track along the Connemara Adventure route. Not a very nice day with the wind against me, and bike definitely needs to be serviced. Really need to get out more, but it didn’t hurt my knee so that’s a plus. Only did about 8km.

Ended up getting my bike serviced on Wednesday afternoon so was all ready to go on Friday. There had been a lot of rain the night before so all the little puddles were a lot bigger and the river crossing (which you may have seen in some photos) was well up! No chance of keeping my feet dry here!

Did a lot better today and was happier. I would definitely advice getting an MOT of your bike before taking part – ever little helps!

Have to admit my arse is still not getting used to this cycling malarkey! But did get some tips – I’ll try them out and let you know how I get on.

Also went for kayaking pool session that evening. Again was busy teaching others for most of the session, but got a chance to go rolling for the last 10 mins. This has to be good for your core muscles as you use your stomach and hips to re-right the boat.

Saturday started off on a bad foot but I was determined to get out there.

So I decided to final take on the Greenway. I was a bit pushed for time so didn’t get to do as much as I would have liked but got about 14km in. I had heard a lot about the Greenway so I had high hopes – They were all met and achieved! I started at Newport and headed out towards Mulranny. I was ragging that I had to cut my cycle short as it really is a great FREE amenity. It is in great condition and there is very little beside the road so you get to see the countryside. It is also very flat – which isn’t great from a training aspect!

Really impressed and I’m now going to be an advocate of the Greenway  – alongside my other two – New Grange & Knock Airport – I’m telling ye you wont get a welcome like you do in Knock Airport & New Grange is just class and costs only €6.

Anyway enough of that! Didn’t get a chance to get out on Sunday. Weather was rubbish and wasn’t up for it!


Back to it!

March 5, 2013

After last week, I wanted to hit the road running this week – well not quite running but a slow jog is always good! And with the weather being so good there was no excuse.

On Monday we headed up the hill at the back of the centre. This was the first hill training I had done so far and I have to say I found it tough but good. I was delighted when I came back and looked at the map, to see that the hill in the Connemara Adventure Challenge isn’t as steep and high as this. So if I keep training on this hill I should find the race day a little easier.

So I made it a bit more than half way up the hill. By the time I made it back to the track I had regained my breath and decided to jog on the road back to the centre, which was about a km. This was with one of the girls from the office and I have to say that I probably wouldn’t have jogged as far if I didn’t have someone with me. We both jog at about the same pace, which was great too.

Didn’t feel as wrecked as I thought I would when I returned to work and wasn’t sore the next day. I do need to remember to stretch more after doing exercise – really bad habit to get into.

Didn’t get a chance to go out during the day on Tuesday, but went to Zumba and Body toning in the evening. I’m definitely starting to feel the effects of this. Can feel that my core muscles are stronger than the where.

Had my sights set on conquering the hill on Wednesday. Made it across the bog, which is the first part of Connemara adventure challenge and brings you to the bottom of the hill, by then the will to go up it had completely left me. So changed my mind and jogged down the Western way and along the road to the centre. Was the longest I have jogged so far, but I really need to get up the hills. I think I found it hard to get motivated as I was by myself .

Took Thursday off. On Friday headed out for a jog/walk along part of the cycle track for the event. This is an off road track. Wasn’t too long or hilly a jog but seemed to have highs and lows along the way. Started well and then struggled for a bit- thinking that I would have to stop and then came good again and finished at a nice pace with breathing going well. I always start my training off with a fast walk to warm up and this seems to work well. Again I forgot to stretch afterwards.

I help out with the local kayak club in the village, and we got back into the season with a rolling session in the pool on Friday evening. As I was running the session I didn’t get in too much training myself but I suppose there was a bit of resistance training walking around the pool – I ended up with a lot of bruises so I must have been doing something!

Was working on Saturday and was home late so didn’t get to do anything. Had great ambition to go and cycle to Greenway on Sunday, but never got around to it – not blaming the massive meal, drink or singing until 3am in the morning from the night before or anything! Just took it easy and just went for a walk along the beach.

Only 3 weeks to the first challenge with the 5km run in Westport. Not sure if I will be able to jog the whole thing but would really like to jog most of it.

In other notes:

I’m not the weighing scales type of girl, so I’m not sure if I have lost weight but I have definitely noticed that my stomach it flatter and I now fit nicely into a pair of shorts that I struggled to close before.

I have also decided to try and raise some money for charity while I take on the challenge. If you fancy sponsoring me it would be greatly appreciated!

Not a great week!

February 25, 2013

Not a great week this week. Was away from the office for a few days work, and as I have been trying to get most of my training in during lunchtime, it threw it all out of whack! With no street lights in the area, it’s hard to get out in the evenings, so have to try and fit in training at lunch or at the weekends until it gets a bit brighter.

On Monday I did get out for a jog/walk.
Brought a different dog with me this time – a Béarnaise mountain dog, if you haven’t seen one of these they are huge! Jogging went well, I do jog very slowly so it’s a bit embarrassing when the dog you are walking, is walking at their normal rate while you are jogging beside it! But by the end of it he was over the walk and I had to pull him along to keep him going.
I also had no music on and did better with my breathing than I expected.

Tuesday I went to Zumba & body toning. Again just wasn’t in the mood for either. Spent half the day making up excuses for why I shouldn’t go in my head, then convinced just to go to Zumba. Then when I was there convinced myself to go to body toning. I always feel so much better after I actually get out there, so just need to keep reminding myself that.

Very lazy for the rest of the week, then up to Dublin for a boozy, eating weekend.
On Sunday had to check out some of the Bray Cliff run for the 10km in April so walked about 4km of the course.

It’s Monday today and I’m determined to get back on track. Not so busy this week so no excuses!

Struggling in the bog!

February 21, 2013

Not a bad week last week, bit tired but managed to get myself out there. Took a rest day on Monday, more to let me arse have a chance to recover than anything else.

Busy day on Tuesday. Went for walk/jog during lunch. I keep surprising myself that I can jog as far as I can now – I’m still up only up to just over 1km but I’m happy. As I was so anti jogging before all this, I’m now embarrassed to say that when I do go out, my body is looking for me to start jogging! So maybe I might become a jogger!!! Time will tell!

I have been jogging on a quite private road with no traffic, so I have been listening to music as I jog. It is a safety rule for all our events that you cannot listen to MP3s, ipods etc, so I need to wean myself off my music and get used to my struggling breathing.

Went to Zumba and Bodytoning class that evening. Really enjoying both of the classes still. Can really feel all the areas that the body toning classes are working on. No more love handles in a few weeks – here’s hoping!!!

On Wednesday, I decided that it was time to get wet and take on some of the bog. I set out at the back of the centre across the bog to the Western Way. This is actually the start section of the course, and the first bit of a bog work I had done so it was good to get out there.

It was an absolutely crap day and lashing down rain. The rest of the girls in the office took the easy option and stayed in, but knowing that you never know what the weather can be like on race day, I braved the wind and rain and got out there! It was quite different to be on wet boggy ground. No jogging to be had here but I tried to fast walk across it. It took a lot more out of me than I expected and by the time I reach the Western Way I was out of breath. So I would advice everyone to find a nice wet field, hill to get training on if possible.

I made it down to the road again. By this stage I was back to normal and decided to try and jog back to the centre. The one think I struggle with when it comes to training, is people seeing me jogging. This is why I like jogging on the nice quiet road. But this day I made it to the main road, were normally I would just walk back to the centre, I felt good and continued to jog – People even drove past me without pointing and laughing!!! I nearly made it all the way back to the centre jogging which surprised me.

In total I had only did about 2km with about a kilometre of jogging, but I have to say as I came back in the centre completely drenched, I felt quite proud of myself that I had got out there and done it! I had taken the harder option where a few weeks ago I would have taken the easier and sat down and drank tea!

Thursday just did about a 4km walk/jog and took Friday off.

Went for a cycle on Saturday morning. It was only a short cycle but struggled with it. Need to get my bike serviced as gears & brakes seem to be playing up. Which reminds me I must get someone to teach me how to change a tyre or fix a puncture.

Have also decided to take part in the Run with Ray in Westport in March. I have walked a number of 10kms for charities but have never ran, so this will be my first jogging event. There are about 7 of us doing it from work so I will have lots of support.

Stupid busy this week so struggling to get out there.

On My Bike!

February 12, 2013

Had a good week this week.
Didn’t get around to doing anything on Monday, which annoyed me. Was worried I wasn’t get work, life and training balance right. Which to be honest worked out well as it made me go for it for the rest of the week.

I was going to let it beat me on Tuesday, so went for a walk/jog during lunch. At the moment I am walking on part of the route that the event takes for the cycle, and it is about 4km. I had planned to take it easy as was going to Zumba that evening but surprised myself and ended up jogging for about a 1km. I know this is not much but it is definitely the most I have jogged in one go in a very long time.

With my new found energy I was all set to go for it at Zumba that evening. Now some of you may thing Zumba is just girls dancing around the place and not much fitness gained from it in the end, but I have to say I really enjoy it. It doesn’t matter what size, shape or age you are, nobody cares and you just get stuck in. If you mess up the move, which happens to everyone, you just laugh it off and continue on. I also really enjoy it because you can either really push yourself or take it easy if you have done a walk/jog earlier in the day. It is really good fun and a great laugh!
So after an hour of dancing around to Micheal Jackson and Beyonce, I kept up the momentum and stuck around for another hour of circuits and body toning. This was the first bit of core work that I had done and I surprised myself, doing better than I expected. I did keep waiting for the pain to come over the following days and I’m happy to report that it didn’t! I really enjoyed the circuits as you are always moving on to something else keeping you interested and uses lots of different muscles!
To be honest I probably shouldn’t have done all that training in the one day but it did make me realise that I can definitely push myself further than I expected.

After walking up on Wednesday and not feeling the pain that I expected I decided that I would just go for a walk that day at lunch. I’m not sure if it my mind is playing tricks on me, if subconsciously my mind knew I had stuff to get done in work, that sometimes it feels like my legs aren’t moving fast enough for the top part of my body or maybe this jogging malarkey isn’t as bad as it first seems, but I ended up jogging!
Again not a whole heap but enough!

Woke up Thursday morning and the thoughts of going for a walk that day weren’t filling me with joy. But I had said to one of the girls in work that we would go for a walk together at lunchtime, so brought my gear in. Later discovered that she had the same thoughts earlier but it was good to have company and we just walked the 4km route. If you are struggling to motivate yourself, setting up training dates (maybe in both meanings of that word) are great to make you get out there.

I took Friday and Saturday off from training. Well maybe scrubbing your house could be classified as training – the bottle of wine I drank on Saturday night probably doesn’t or is it training for the after party?

Back to it on Sunday. I hadn’t been on the bike yet so decided to today was the day.
Did some kettle bells & sit-ups at home in the morning to get me going.
We cycled the Connemara Adventure Challenge off road section the wrong way round or in reverse. I have to admit I did think that I would find the cycling the easiest part of the training but found it a lot harder than I expected. I had been cycling a bit over the summer on sealed road and was surprised to find the off –road a lot harder. Probably would have stopped more and given up on the hills, accept for my other half (some might even say better half!) coaxing me up them. Definitely advice anyone who is taking part in the event to find a track to cycle on as it is very different to nice sealed roads!

I have said for many years that I think I have the bonyest arse in the world and yesterdays cycle has proven that to me. I had padded shorts on and a padded seated and I still can’t sit down properly today! It was only an 8km cycle!

PS. how many of ye read all that just to see what the hell I was talking about with the boniest arse!

First steps to jogging

February 11, 2013

Not a great week last week. Plan was to go to Zumba & Body toning on Tuesday and that would kick start my motivation for the rest of the week. Zumba got cancelled at the last minute. Also developed a chesty cough that didn’t help. But this is a new week and a new start!

I did get out for a short walk on Thursday and Friday. Living right on the course route has it’s advantages as I know what to expect and can go and training on it, but on the other side we don’t have may street lights in Connemara so at this time of the year I have to get out in my lunch hour or straight away when I get home from work.
But again, as I try and get something positive out of everything, I always feel much better and energized after a brisk walk – house is very clean and I’m definitely more productive in work. When I walk, I go at a good fast pace. I find that Ministry of Sound helps keep my pace up and if possible I borrow a mates dog for the trip, always nice to have some company along the way.

Fridays walk was probably a bit of a milestone for me. I knew that if I didn’t get out during lunch time then it wouldn’t happen – the call of the after work Friday pints had started nagging at me from about 12 that day!
Just as I headed out, it started to pelting down hail stones! But I had the gear on and knew it was now or never! The weather did calm down and I was flying with the walking, so I thought that I would push it a bit more and try a slow jog. I tried to push myself a little bit further than I thought I could go distance wise and then and would return to fast walking. My friend’s poor dog didn’t know what was going on!
In all I probably only jogged about 500 metres but for me that is huge. Having not purposefully gone for a jog in about 15 years, when I played Basketball in school, it was a very strange filling. I think I find jogging quite boring, even though it is really just faster walking! I’m hoping that with company along the way on race day, that I might actually enjoy it! There was a definite feeling of satisfaction on returning to the office, knowing that I had made that first move towards jogging – I won’t say to becoming a jogger yet!

I ended up with a chesty cough for the weekend so didn’t get to go out training with Colm & Sinead, but brought them around the route on Sunday. I have been along the route 100s of time but I have to say that this time I was looking at it with different eyes! I’m not worried about the course and know that it is very achievable, if anything it probably made me more excited about it!

Anyway enough waffle for today. My cunning plans are working well to recruit more people to take up the challenge as a good friend of mine who has been saying for years that she is going to take part has entered!

Till next week!

Snow Experience

February 11, 2013

Siobhan, one of our senior staff, was delighted to have been selected as one of the lucky 23 Outdoor instructors who travelled to the the French Alps this January as part of the 2013 CARVE Programme. The CARVE Programme, funded by the Leonardo Live long learning programme, takes full-time instructors who are working in outdoor centre on a two-week work placement in France, where they work and live alongside their French counterparts and gain a valuable insight into the way adventure centres are run in France.

As part of the programme the instructors also get to learn a new skill and being that it is winter, and they were heading to the Alps, the choose was either Snowboarding or Skiing. Siobhan is also taking part in the Connemara Adventure Challenge on the 11th of May as one of our Gaelforce challengers.
Read how she got on below and how she used the experience to start her training.

This was a once in a lifetime experience, with an amazing adventure and learning throw in for good luck!
It was also a great kick start to my training for Connemara Adventure Challenge- if not a slap in the face to make me realise how unfit I actually am!
The two weeks involved spending on average about 4 hours a day on the slopes and I discovered that I have muscles in places I didn’t know existed! I have been on snow boarding breaks before but they normally involved enjoying the snow for an hour a day with the Apres Ski being the main attraction!

The first couple of days I was flying, working on technique and bruising my body! And then the real workout started by the third day my legs were in bits! My calves muscles and thighs felt like they had been set on fire! Even my arms and shoulders hurt. I felt like an 80 year old women with narcolepsy – if I wasn’t on the slopes all I wanted to do was sleep!

The second week I ended up with a head cold and had to take a day off to recover. I ended up taking the week a bit easier and did shorter days on the slopes. This definitely helped as with my body hurting less my technique improved and I wasn’t messing up as much – which means less falls!
Even with all the aches and pains, having to take breaks to let my legs recover and the lovely bruises, it was an absolutely amazing experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone, but maybe build up some fitness before you head over. We even got to meet former President Mary Robinson on the way home!

So now I’m back to a very wet rainy Ireland, trying to keep myself motivated to get out there. The worst thing I find about exercising is actually starting, but you always feel much better afterwards! I’m heading to Zumba and body toning class tonight and then for a walk/jog tomorrow in the hail, rain or snow. Hope to get on the bike as well this weekend. It’s hard to make a training plan this week, as I’m worried that if I go outside I may blow away!

That’s all for now. If you do fancy a great value holiday to the snow, check out Action Outdoors.

Siobhan Bennett Profile Entry

February 11, 2013

Some of you may know me from Gaelforce Events and working on all our events. I’m the person who takes all the calls and answers emails etc.
I’m also the person who convinces those that are a bit dubious about taking on one of our races, to take part – bit cheeky really considering that I have never taken part in one of our events or anyone else’s for that matter!
I’m not the biggest girl in the world but not the skinniest, could do with losing about a stone in weight! I try to eat pretty healthy but probably balance that out with drinking too much.
At the moment I go to Zumba once a week and go for a 40min walk about once a week if its not raining and I have time. I hate running, unless there is a dog chasing me, so this will be an interesting one for training!

I’m originally an outdoor activities instructor and did spend many a day walking, crawling and moaning up and down the mountains of Ireland. Now I could walk for Ireland as long as it is flat and not raining! My real love was always kayaking and I have recently started to get back into this, so I wont find this too hard on event day. I go kayaking about once a week in the Spring & Summer.

So after all that why am I challenging myself to take part in Connemara Adventure Challenge?
Few reasons:
– Having placed the route arrows for the course for the 3 years & having done the route in sections before, I know the route is very achievable for any level of fitness.
– When I turned 24 I realised that I had to work at fitting into my clothes! 9 years later and I still haven’t worked at it.
– Having seen the sense of achievement and how proud people are when they cross the finish line at our events, I really want to experience this and hopefully it will help keep me motivated to stay fit afterwards.
– Having been quite active in the outdoors for a number of years, I have found it hard to get back into it and I am hoping this will help. Living in Connemara, I feel embarrassed to not be using it to my full advantage.
– Because of my job, people are always saying that I must be really fit – you don’t have to be fit to answer phones and write emails – so it would be nice for once to say yes I am fit!
– To be able to say that I did an adventure race!

I think my biggest problems with both the training and the race day itself is that I’m not very competitive. I’m the kind of person who will get half way through the course and decide that the whole idea of taking part was silly and I should just go home.

I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in and taking part in the event. It will be great to see it from the other side for once!

More information:
Siobhan is in a relationship and has no children. She does not smoke and does drink.