The Run Down – October

My monthly Run Down showcases new products, studios, classes, races or concepts in health, fitness and nutrition that I have got on my radar. Let me know if there is something specific you would like to see here. Got a product/ class/ race/ concept that you want included? Get in touch.

SWEATING IT OUT
This month I’ve been trying something new. Instead of running quite so much, I’ve shifted my focus to doing more bodyweight workouts – namely the Kayla Itsines 12 week bikini body challenge. Yeah, I hate the programme name too, but despite that, the workouts are NO JOKE.

Kayla Itsines Workouts

I’ve just finished week 3, and I’m already noticing a difference in my arms, legs and core. My muscles absolutely quiver after each workout, I’m left a sweaty mess, and the DOMS that follow are off the richter!

Kayla Itsines workouts

If you want an idea of what the workouts consist of, you can see what I did when I did them in the park recently. I’ve also done them in the gym, and in my lounge at home (with only some slight modifications – but I do have handweights and a medicine ball at home).

GEARING UP

Gymtalk tee

My pals at Gym Talk recently sent me one of their workout tanks to try out. With the store being aimed at bodybuilders, I wasn’t too sure whether their style would suit mine, but I was pleasantly surprised. I really liked the “Eat Clean, Train Dirty” tank, but in the end went for the lovely black and pink “Strong is the new Skinny” tank. I like my workout tops to be loose fitting, and the size L was a perfect fit.

While I don’t really care for being skinny (yay for boobs! yay for butts! yay for strong thighs!) I do like the idea of being strong. Last Friday, when I was feeling a little less than stellar due to a niggly cold, I slipped on the tank and headed off to my early morning yoga class, determined to be strong like my tank said. And you know what? it worked!

Get a Gym Talk tank for £16.99 here. 

Berghaus Remote 30

With less than 6 months until our Epic Adventure, I’m starting to think about kit. There’s a lot to consider – everything from what type of sleeping bag we take, through to deciding on the one nailpolish I want to wear for 6 months straight, as well as size and weight of items. One thing I had on my list was a really good rucksack – some days we might be hiking up a mountain, others exploring a city on foot – so it needed to be comfortable, durable and lightweight. 

Berghaus Remote 30

Berghaus recently sent me their Remote 30l Rucksack to test out, and I have been enjoying carrying my work and gym gears around in it. It’s got a padded back and straps which means it’s really comfortable to wear (and they are vented to help avoid that awful back-sweat that you sometimes get!), and the height adjustable chest strap means I can get it sitting on my body in the correct place. It’s definitely big enough that I could use it for overnight trips, and with plenty of pockets, zips, and attachments – there is a place for everything and anything you might want to carry. What’s more, it’s got a hole at the back so if you carry a hydration bladder, you can run the hose out of the backpack no problem – something that will be perfect for day hikes.

Berghaus Remote 30

Overall I think it’s a little big for me and I should probably opt for a slightly smaller 20l rucksack though. I think I would be worried that more space = more ability to carry crap = heavy and annoying…but I happen to know a rather large male who it would be perfect for (male carrying my crap = even better!).

You can check out the Berghaus range of rucksacks here: http://www.berghaus.com/

WINDING DOWN

Sundried tshirt

My current favourite tee for chilling out, maxin, relaxin (anyone else get 18 out of 18?) has been my new SUNDRiED “RUN” tee! I love the bright colours, and the tee is super soft and comfy. The brand itself was founded on the beach in Peru and with a range of t-shirts, hoodies and sunglasses you can really feel its laid back surfer dude attitude across their range: http://www.sundried.com

Sundried tshirt

I’m currently thinking I might need another one in orange now!
Urban Massage
And while we are on the topic of relaxing, please let me introduce to you the most amazing new service ever – an in home professional massage. Urban Massage have just launched – they provide the ability to book a professional masseuse to come to your home, all via their user friendly app or website.

Urban Massage have a range of treatments to choose from including the urban classic, the calming, the deep tissue, sports, or even a pregnancy massage. You can browse the professional therapists bios and choose one that suits you, and with a few taps you can book, pay, and have your massage confirmed via text message. It honestly couldn’t be easier.

Urban Massage
I was very lucky to be treated to a complimentary massage – I chose to go for the classic with Magda. Magda turned up on my doorstep right on time, and set up her massage table. She brought with her everything she needed, so all I needed to do was lie back and relax. And relax I did!! The whole treatment was wonderful, and just what I needed. For a price of £65 for an hour (or £75 for 90mins, £95 for 2hours) this is amazing considering they come to YOU and you don’t waste any time or stress commuting.

I think over marathon training season I might be making use of the sports massage quite regularly…

MARATHON MANIA

London Marathon Rejection

Speaking of marathons, my hopes are slightly dashed at the moment as I received a rejection from London Marathon. Boo. I’m trying not to get too down about it – I’m hoping a marathon place might magically appear for me (and in the meantime I am entering every competition possible!), but also I need to look at the positives. No 20miler on my wedding day, hurrah!!

If I can’t run it, I can cheer it though – so who else managed to get a place?!

What’s on your Run Down right now?  

RACE RECAP: Bacchus Half Marathon 2014

I joked about my legs falling off at the end of all my September races – but what I hadn’t planned for were my legs falling off at the START of all my September races! When I started experiencing knee pain that eventually knocked me out of Spitfire Scramble a lap or two too early, I knew my upcoming races were in jeopardy.

Bacchus Half Marathon

Blog post spoiler. My legs are still attached! 

I rested, I iced, I iced, I rested, and I saw a physio. The physio told me it wasn’t the patella tendonitis that I had self-diagnosed; instead it was deep bruising of my knee joint as a result of my hyper-mobility (basically my knee was bending too far forward). The solution? Rest and ice.

The days ticked over towards the one race I had been MAJOR excited for – Bacchus Half Marathon. I decided to be sensible and to walk the distance – I knew it was hilly and off road, it was a race for FUN (wine stops!), and that it had a 7 hour cut off – of all races, this would be the one it would be ok to walk.

Bacchus Half Marathon

My backup plan to stop me getting over excited and going out guns blazing came in the form of my house guest Aleisha. I tempted her with the promise of wine, treats, and a lovely walk in the UK countryside, and she agreed to join me (having never run more than 10ks before!).

Bacchus Half Marathon

We met up with lots of other runners we knew, and after an easy race number pick up, a giggle at some of the costumes, and a kind-of-warm-up, we headed off into the vineyard. Aleisha and I decided to run the first couple of wine stops, and walk it from there.

Bacchus Half Marathon

The first 3k’s through the vines I found really tough. It was hot and there was no breeze, my knee was twingey and it was crowded. Luckily there was plenty to look at costume wise to distract you, and before we knew it we were headed downhill straight towards wine stop number 1.

Bacchus Half Marathon

We took FULL advantage of the treats on offer, sampling some lovely wine, a packet of crisps, and some jelly babies. Both Aleisha and I were feeling relatively ok, so we kept up the pace and headed onwards to the next wine stop.

Bacchus Half Marathon

At around 5k we slowed to a walk, taking it easy on the offroad trail and having some fun along the way. I LOVED looking at all the gorgeous English houses along the route and playing “which house would I buy”. There were horses and cows and sheep, fields and fields of green and it was just BLOODY BEAUTIFUL.

Bacchus Half Marathon

We wandered into the second wine stop, grabbed a mars bar and some lovely rose which I enjoyed so much I went back for seconds, and thirds – we headed off to the next stop. I was really getting into the swing of things now, and I don’t know if it was the excitement, the scenery, or the wine (ok, so most likely the wine) but my knee pain was the very last thing on my mind. I felt pretty good, and Aleisha wasn’t complaining – so we continued on at a good pace, walking a few hills.

Bacchus Half Marathon

Now that we knew of the food-wine party that was ahead of us, the short 3k’s inbetween stations seemed to fly by! We stopped at the third station for quite a while due to a portaloo queue, and it was here that we saw the first lot of marathoners come through. I made sure to give them a hearty cheer – there was no wine-stopping going on for these guys!

Bacchus Half Marathon

After some serious hills, we were running along a ridge and looking  down on the crazy runners below us when we heard “TEAM NATURALLY RUN!!” yelled at us from behind. It was Steph, who was taking the marathon in her stride and absolutely blitzing it! After a quick hug, some photos and a big cheer she headed off, and I stepped off the path to send a tweet – knowing that her parents and friends were waiting for news on her progress. I’ve honestly never seen a happier marathoner at the 20mile mark than Steph!

Bacchus Half Marathon

A few minutes ahead we hit another wine stop – this time is was a delicious red, accompanied by a full bagpipe band. They were AWESOME, and we really enjoyed having a bit of a jig to the music. Possibly slightly tiddly by this point, Aleisha was looking very red in the face, but also very happy, so I was reassured that I hadn’t killed her or put her off running yet.

Bacchus Half Marathon

Bacchus Half Marathon

Somewhere on the giant hill we were caught up by a couple of hula girls – it was Lissy and her housemate Gosia. It was lovely to run with some more people – we spurred each other on and talked about what wine stop had been our favourite. I barely noticed that we were going up, up, up…until we came around a corner and noticed the breathtaking views of the valley below us. It was stunning…made even more so by the BEST food station ahead. A steel band played while we pretty much had a picnic – so many snacks, so much wine!

Bacchus Half Marathon

Bacchus Half Marathon

Bacchus Half Marathon

We meandered on through trees and we had to keep an eye out for roots and trip hazards – made slightly harder by the wine we had consumed! Aleisha actually hit the deck a couple of times, but still came up smiling – so on we pushed. The race information had told us about one station having a sparkling wine, so this spurred us on. The signs which alerted us to drinks ahead only made us run a little bit faster!

IMG_9240

Another wine station, which we went through reasonably quickly once we realised it wasn’t the elusive sparkling wine station. We had popped out into a more populated area, and there were cars and other walkers who probably wondered what on earth these costumed, slightly wobbly runners were doing!

Bacchus Half Marathon

The final wine station was ahead – I could almost taste the sparkling…so you can imagine my disappointment when a marshal announced it had run out already!! I thought he was kidding…but alas, we were so slow that all the sparkling had been drunk. Thankfully the organisers had restocked with another wine though, so we didn’t go empty handed.

Bacchus Half Marathon

At this station I caught up with Katy and Sam, and Sam’s dad who was running his first half marathon. We chatted with the three musketeers to distract us on the final few kilometres – Aleisha had gone weirdly quiet, I could tell she was definitely a bit knackered (not bloody bad for a non-runner!) so I tried to up the hype-talk to get us down to the finish line without walking. The downhill in this section was killer, and made my knee groan and come to life again – we could see the vineyard the little runners ahead, like colourful ants against the green of the countryside.

Bacchus Half Marathon

We couldn’t resist stopping for a few photos in the vines before blitzing towards the finish line for a personal worst time for 3hours 24mins and something something (honestly, who cares?). A stellar effort if you ask me, and one I am damn proud of – I tasted every type of “fuel” on offer (except for the gels, ugh!) and thoroughly enjoyed myself. That’s a perfect race strategy in my book.

Bacchus Half Marathon

Who knew that the finish line could be EVEN BETTER than the race?! After we were presented with my biggest, chunkiest medal yet we were greeted with tables upon tables of cakes, fresh fruit, more drinks, water, more cake, and hot tea and coffee. I could have stayed at these tables for ages… but there were bigger and better things to come. Namely a full hog roast, and a giant glass of wine!

Bacchus Half Marathon

Bacchus Half Marathon

As we basked in the sun, and the glory of our race, we all concluded that Bacchus really was a brilliant race. Well organised, friendly marshals, brilliant scenery, challenging course yet FUN and did I mention the food and wine?

Bacchus Half Marathon

My only two teeny tiny slight gripes were that we missed out on the sparkling wine (boo) that we were practically gagging for; and that when I limped over and tried to get a sports massage to help my knee afterwards, I was turned away because the company offering them were only giving them to marathoners from that point onwards. With 4 of the 6 beds empty, I would have thought they might have liked the tenner I was going to give their donation box, but apparently not.

Bacchus Half Marathon

The plus side was, the event seemed to actually CURE my knee pain. I estimate that I ran approximately 17kms of the 21, and the next day my knee pain had eased…and it only got better from there.

Bacchus Half Marathon

It must have been the effort I put in to my “legs up the wall” routine post-race (apparently I was caught fast asleep in this position…looks comfortable huh?). Wine + sugar overload + half marathon = coma on the couch.

Bacchus Half Marathon

Well done to Aleisha for nailing her first ever half marathon. I’d highly recommend Bacchus to anyone wanting to have a fun day out – not so much for the serious runner wanting to get a PB though!

Entries for the 13th September 2015 event open in November – register for updates here. 

Did you run Bacchus? Would you put a wine half marathon on your list? 

A TOPP WEDDING: The Photographer

Some girls dream of their wedding dress, maybe their flowers, decor, or cake… I didn’t really have any of that. But I did have a dream photographer, and I knew I wanted her to photograph my wedding even before I met Jase!

Coralee Stone Photography

Coralee Stone Photography

I’ve known Coralee (from Coralee Stone Photography) since we sat next to each other in classes at high school. As per usual, due to university studies and travel – we lost contact, but linked back up via facebook at some point. I watched/ facebook stalked from afar as her photography blossomed from a part time interest, to a full time career as a wedding photographer. And not just any wedding photographer – an incredibly talented and sought after one too!

Coralee Stone Photography

Coralee Stone Photography

Coralee Stone Photography

Coralee Stone Photography

Coralee has a way of capturing the moments and emotions of a wedding in a perfectly gorgeous way. I’ve spent years reading her blog and following her latest work online, pouring over the beautiful images and dreaming of the day I can give her a call! It’s no surprise that Coralee was literally the FIRST person I touched base with when we got engaged (after we told our nearest and dearest of course).

Coralee Stone Photography

Coralee Stone Photography

Coralee Stone Photography

Coralee Stone Photography

Having the photographer I dreamt of is my “luxury item” for our wedding. Coralee is based in Auckland, so to have her shoot our wedding it involves flights, a rental car and accommodation – but every cent is worth it in my mind. I knew I would have always questioned “what if?” if we had chosen another (equally as nice, I am sure) local photographer. At the end of the day, when it is all over, we will be left with just our happy memories – and the photographs – and so I knew there was only one answer. Coralee Stone Photography. 

Coralee Stone Photography

Coralee Stone Photography

Coralee Stone Photography

Coralee Stone Photography

Check out some of my favourite weddings that Coralee has captured:
Hayley & Heath’s Extraordinary Raglan Wedding
Jacki & Rogan’s Summer BBQ, Kiwi Bach Wedding at Waihi
Olivia & Travis’s Rustic Farm Wedding in Karaka
Hayley & Matt’s Otama Beach Wedding 

What was or would be your luxury item at your wedding? Photography – splurge? or save? 

Want to catch up? Read the rest of A TOPP WEDDING posts here:
A TOPP WEDDING: The Venue
A TOPP WEDDING: The Engagement
A TOPP WEDDING: My Bridesmaids
A TOPP WEDDING: Asking the Bridesmaids

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