Reclaiming an active life after Motherhood 

I’m back to the world of fitness blogging after a long hiatus. As a new Mother I am gently reclaiming my active life. I ran up until 32 wks pregnant and had the active labour I wanted, I got to use the only maternity pool in Ireland at the Coombe hospital. After my adorable baby came along I embraced Mother and baby yoga and lost the baby weight through exercise together classes with Sarah Davey. I took the running buggy out on a few occasions but honestly it was mostly walking that kept me fit in those early stages. I’ve been back completing fun runs and of course the Womans Mini Marathon during the summer which I wouldn’t miss for anything but I rarely made the time to train for those races. My little boy is very attached to me and I hate to leave him for long so short local workouts suit me best. 

My local village in Clondalkin have started something amazing, a calender of free yoga and meditation events held in the monastic grounds of the new visitor centre and Happy Pear cafe. Every Sunday morning a different instructor leads a class in an outdoor session with a different charity benefiting each week. It was the brainchild of local Mum Rachel Somers of Somers Psychotherapy and the initial class was by another local Mum Monique Tijgel of Joy: Journey of Yoga, I’m proud to call both of these amazing woman friends of mine. Another plus for the community is that Corkagh park will begin their first Park run event from Sept 23rd, which is a free family friendly 5km organised run. I’ll be taking part in both of these wonderful events and I look forward to sharing my journey with you all. Look out for me cross training for the Dublin marathon 2018 in a playground near you!

Last Week!


09/06/14: Rest

10/06/14: Rest

11/06/14: 1 hr Dance Class, paying for classes in advance means no matter how busy you are in work or how low the energy levels are you’re more likely to go and make it a consistent part of your training.  I tend to sign up for 6-8 week training sessions, whether it be Bootcamp, martial arts, gym membership, dance etc mixing it up every couple of months keeps training fresh and interesting and there’s usually good deals on Living Social and Dealrush.

12/06/14: Rest,hectic week in work so only got a chance to workout on Wednesday but don’t mind at least I’ll be well rested for Saturday.

13/06/14: Getting the pack ready, decided to wear a long sleeved compression top with my 3Ts charity dri-fit vest top, 3/4 length running tights, twin layer socks and old Brooks trainers that I’m happy to discard after the race and a pair of fingerless weightlifting gloves (that have never lifted a weight in their short lived lives).  We’ve been warned we can’t use duct tape this year so thanks to the suggestion of a former Hellraiser I’m using a spare pair of laces wrapped under the shoe and taken through the loop holes for extra security, also triple tying the laces.  Have my trusty body glide, and anti blister spray at the ready too.

14/06/14: D-day, no going back now! Definitely take the advice of arriving with 90 mins to spare, the time goes quickly.  We were 30 mins queuing for the shuttle bus to take us to Kilruddery House.  Luckily for us and all of this weekends Hellraisers we were blessed with perfect weather conditions.  Once we arrived at ‘The Gates of Hell’ we were impressed, the place was well set up, we quickly left our valuables in, dropped our gear into the changing rooms and had our faces painted to get into the spirit of it all.  Despite arriving 90 mins early we found ourselves running to the warm up area with 5 mins to spare. We got to see the first person hurtle themselves across the finish line in an impressive 1 hr 15 mins. The atmosphere was electric and then we were off…

Alot of the obstacles are designed with teamwork in mind and there are other Hellraiser’s there helping you through it.  My tactic for getting through Sniper Alley was to go in a pack but I got restless waiting on the pack behind me to catch up so I just went for it and sprinted through as fast as I could, got hit about 10 times, hitting the deck half way through the woods didn’t help as it temporarily made me a sitting duck.  Crawling through the tunnels I was glad I had the long sleeves, my friend’s arms got scratched up in a short sleeved top. The Jaffa cakes at the water stations were a nice touch as were the motivational signs along the route.  The marshals were entertaining in their own sadistic way.

I was worrying about H&B since I signed up in December 2013, that’s a long time to build it up in my head, hear all the horror stories and imagine the worst case scenarios. I have to say it earns its tagline as Ireland’s Toughest Mental and Physical Endurance race but it is great fun.

If you’re reading this and thinking of registering for one of the Hell and Back events, I’d say ‘do it!‘, the interactive map on the H&B website will show you exactly what you’re letting yourself in for, but don’t worry too much.  Just make sure you’ve a good base level of fitness and endurance and you’ll be fine.  I thought when I finished I would be be telling myself I should have done weight training or TRX but I have to say I wouldn’t change a thing, my cardio felt great the whole way through and I was very comfortable in what I chose to wear.  Whatever calories I burnt up during the race were quickly replaced when I finally got home and after 8 weeks of training I went on a Ricky Hatton post fight style binge…chocolate, ice-cream, popcorn, vino…told myself I earned it and I have to say guilt free never tasted so good!

15/06/14: A much needed recovery day! I’m a little scratched up, bruised and sore but it was worth it, feeling invincible now what’s next to tick off the bucket list…Ironman 70.3 Dublin 2015?? Who’s with me 🙂


Hell & Back Apollo June 2014 We Did It!!

Hell & Back Apollo June 2014 We Did It!!




26/05/14: Rest

27/05/14: 5 mile run, decided to run home from work, what a scorcher, struggled a bit in the heat, running home with a backpack didn’t help.  It was a wake up call knowing I’ll have to run the extra mile next Monday in the Flora Women’s mini marathon.  No injuries or sore legs after though thanks to my grid roller. this-is-how-i-roll-girl 28/05/14: 1 hr Dance Class, obviously not going to do me any good at H&B but good fun and keeps me moving and maintaining a good base level of fitness.

29/05/14: Rest

30/05/14: Had to collect the race pack in the Woman’s World Show today. Picked up a nice little flame headband so I can look a proper nerd at H&B.

31/05/14: Rest day and had a wonderful date night at Singing in the Rain in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre.  They used 80,000 gallons of water during the performance, glad I wasn’t sitting in the front row!

01/06/14: Chilled day out at Bloom, would recommend getting there early, easily spent 2 hours walking around the exhibition gardens.  I’m missing an amazing night out with friends tonight for tomorrow’s run! The sacrifices I make for running…all set for my 9th Mini Marathon in the morning.


Exhibition Gardens @ Bloom

Exhibition Gardens @ Bloom



2014-06-01 20.20.23===========================================================


02/06/14: Flora Women’s Mini Marathon

I found this 10 km Race Strategy from Runners Connect very helpful.  I was happy with my time of 48 mins and had a relaxing post race massage which really helped break down the lactic acid and helped my recovery time.

Warm-up for a 10k

You should arrive at the race about 60 minutes (or more) prior to the start time. This will allow you to settle down, find the bathrooms and get in a good warm-up. Run a very easy 15-20 mins, just like you do before all your hard runs, 10 minutes of easy stretching and then 3 x 30 sec strides starting about 35-45 minutes before the race.

Overall 10k race strategy

You should focus on running a patient and conservative race over the first mile and then attacking the course for the last mile. Interestingly, every world record from the 1500 meters to the marathon has been set running negative splits – running the first half of the race slightly slower than the second half. This means that if you want to ensure that you run the fastest time possible, you don’t want to run the 800 or mile too fast. With the adrenaline and competition, this can be difficult and will require focus. Luckily, you’ve had lots of practice with the pacing, so use your internal clock and your effort to measure.

First 2 miles

You should target a pace around 5-10 seconds per mile slower than your goal race pace the first 2 miles. Use the pace calculator above to determine the exact pace. Remember that it will feel “slow” and you might be getting passed by people you want to beat. While it is mentally difficult, this is by the most effective way to run a race and you’ll tear by those people during the last mile.

Miles 2-5

At 3 miles or so, creep into the 8:20 – 8:30 range and start looking around and engage the competitors around you. Find a group that is running your pace or a little faster and latch on. Try to relax and keep your focus on staying with the group, not your splits. Use the group and the people around you to help you relax and take your mind of the distance ahead. This is the hardest part of the race as it requires a lot of mental focus and fortitude. Be aware that you need to increase your effort to maintain the same pace or run faster as the race goes on. As you get more tired, it gets more difficult to keep running faster, so you have to try harder. The pace is going to start getting hard around 4 miles; it’s part of racing the 10k, so prepare for it mentally. Keep you mind and body relaxed. Look within yourself and focus on you. Think confident thoughts and repeat confident mantras to yourself; “I am fast, this feels good” or “I am strong”. Every time you feel tired or feel the pace slip, repeat to yourself that you need to refocus and concentrate and get back on pace.

Last Mile

With 1 mile to go, keep your head up and start to try and catch people in front of you. Pick one person and focus solely on reeling them in, nothing else. As you pass them, surge and put your eyes on the next person and repeat. Imagine tying a fishing line to their back and reeling them in. Kick hard the last mile and finish fast!

Post Race Cocktails!

Post Race Cocktails!

03/06/14: Rest day, legs feeling good post race.

04/06/14: 1 hr Dance Class with small bit of core work included.

05/06/14: Finally set up my charity page for Hell and Back today, I decided to do the race for the 3ts – Turn the tide on suicide.

06/06/14: Can’t believe how fast the UFC Dublin tickets sold out today, it shows how popular MMA is getting in Ireland.  I would have loved to see Conor McGregor fight at the O2.  Good to see the regulars at SBG got tickets though.  

07/06/14: Little bit of cycling

08/06/14: Chilled day at the park, running after nieces & nephews, does that count as training?? I’m scraping the barrel this weekend! Hard to believe there’s only 1 week to go…


Hell and Back Apollo

My haphazard 8 week training plan journey to Hell & Back Apollo starts here, the countdown is on!

WEEK 8Brian Boru 10mile Commemorative plaque

Easter Monday 21/04/1914: Battle of Clontarf, Millenium 10 mile race

It was very early in the season for me to be anywhere near up to 10 miles in training, I hadn’t been running much and the race was organised by the brilliant Raheny Shamrock AC so the pace was always going to be very fast.  To top it off the sun was beating down.  A repetitive course with a series of loops around the lovely St Anne’s Park in Raheny and taking in some roads in Clontarf. Some of the vikings were still wandering around their makeshift tents in the village they’d created for the epic festival that drew 40,000 over the weekend. I don’t always have to run with music but I really could have done with some pumping sounds to get me round the course that day but the battery had died on my mp3 player! When I arrived there were about 500 club runners lining up and I thought ‘oh oh’, not too many ‘fun’ runners here I could be in trouble! It was a tough race for me but I just powered through as best I could in 82 minutes.  We received a very nice commemorative plaque in the goody bag afterwards.  Like all races organised by runners for runners and especially with it being Raheny Shamrock AC it was a pleasure, an honour and an absolute wake-up call to see how unfit I am in the lead up to Hell and Back!

22/04/14: Rest

23/04/14: 25 mins of Hula Hooping!! I use a weighted one that’s meant to be good for your core, not sure how true that is yet but I’m giving it a whirl and you can’t help but be in a good mood using it.hula-hoop-craze

24/04/14: 25 mins core workout, sits ups/planks/push-ups/added in some squats & tricep dips too.

25/04/14: Race pack collection for the Samsung 10km Night Run on Sunday, the organisers had no small tops left, disappointing, especially considering the entry fee which was a bit pricier than most 10kms.  They offered me my size in the Cork top…I took the medium in the Dublin one and skedaddled!

26/04/14: Rest

27/04/14: Samsung 10 km Night Run, I realise now that morning races suit me better.  I always try to eat no more than 2 hrs before a race but in the case of a night race it was 2 hrs after a heavy dinner instead of a light breakfast so I didn’t feel great or energised at all.  download

My warm-up consisted of pegging it to the start just in time for the elite to take off and hurtling myself over the barriers, there were no set waves so I just positioned myself as appropriately as I could and set off.  No time for my Garmin forerunner to locate satellites (bane of my life waiting on satellites!) so I ran it old school and paced myself instinctively.staring-at-garmin_thumb

Luckily it was a beautiful evening and the city looked great under the stars and flood lights, bemused tourists watched as a sea of luminous jerseys passed over the Samuel Beckett bridge in a mysterious dash to get somewhere.  The route went past the Customs House, The Point Village around the Docklands and the Bord Gais energy theatre.  There was a lovely bit of race bling received afterwards, as well as a text confirming my time of 49 mins, all in all I would do it again, but I’d get in early to collect the right T-shirt size, eat very light during the day, and although it’s a flat course I wouldn’t expect a PB given the size of the crowd.



28/04/14: Rest

29/04/14: 25 min core workout + 1 hr Bootcamp which involved sprints, circuit training, planks, mountain climbers, squats etc. Tuesdays & Thursdays are my busiest training days at the moment.

30/04/14: Dance Class 1 hr, this year I decided to have a bit of fun on my cross-training days! 6b0a330345c1aca7e0e3a872810f587a

01/05/14: Core workout 25 mins, the rain was torrential so I cancelled on Bootcamp.

02/05/14: Rest

03/05/14: Rest

04/05/14: Tabata DVDTabata-Facebook



05/05/14: Rest

06/05/14: 25 min core workout + 1 hr Bootcamp.  Pulled a muscle behind my knee at Bootcamp, not looking good for the rest of the week’s training.

07/05/14: Cancelled Dance class, iced the leg.images

08/05/14: Cancelled Bootcamp, rested

09/05/14: Session! drunk

10/05/14: Session!

11/05/14: Recovered from the partying and wrote off a bad week.  My life is one big balancing act, enjoying the good things in life while living the good life! Sometimes the scales tip each way but I always try to find the medium ground.



12/05/14: Rest

13/05/14: Bootcamp 1 hr + 1 hr walk

14/05/14: Dance Class 1 hr, the dance teacher said next week we’ll be using Hula Hoops! They’re having a mini revival! Can’t wait to learn a few tricks, I’ll be joining a circus and using a flaming hula soon! 🙂

15/05/14: 25 min Hula hooping & sit ups + 1 hr Bootcamp + 1 mile jog.

16/05/14: Rest

17/05/14: Session!

18/05/14: Rest10312387_685705628156864_3636701075387331489_n





19/05/14: Rest

20/05/14: 1hr Bootcamp, lots of core work, sit ups, planks, push-ups, also skipping, bicep curls, burpees and reps on some of the park exercise machines. My arms were sore for a couple of days after reps on this pull down trainer.


1.5 mile jog home.  Always finish with my RUN-ROLL-STRETCH routine, using this Grid roller.  First week of no niggles after Bootcamp, feeling great.

Implement of torture, every runner should own one!

Implement of torture, every runner should own one


21/05/14: 1 hr Dance Class which included sit ups and Hula Hooping to improve core strength and balance. The girls were surprised when I didn’t let the Hula Hoop drop once and could do spinning circles and arm work, I felt like a dog performing tricks at a Pedigree competition!  I told them I’ve been practising and now some of them are considering getting their own Hula Hoops.  By the end of the class after many hilarious bumbling efforts the girls were all getting the hang of it.  I’ve noticed this week that using your hands while spinning the hoop is a lot like patting your head and rubbing your tummy. Here’s hoping we learn new tricks next week.


use 322/05/14: Dublin Staff Relay, I entered GCD into the Dublin Staff Relay this year with 1 team of 5, each of us running 5 km.  We agreed our running order before we arrived, we wanted to get a good start so we choose our tallest experienced runner to go first, had our 2 beginners next and two experienced runners to finish the last 10 km strong.  That’s as far as our tactics went! When we arrived it became apparent that most of the race would be run on grass, this changed our timing expectations knowing we wouldn’t be as fast on grass.  I’d recommend arriving a good bit early for the event to get organised and familiarise the group with the course and layout.  Only the last runner wears a timing chip so the start is not really accurately timed as there were 5,000 people with 1,000 teams there, so a huge crowd crossed the start line at different times.  Once the A runners crossed the finish line they had to manically search the crowd behind the barrier for their B runner to pass the baton.

Meeting Jason 'Trigger' McAteer

Meeting Jason ‘Trigger’ McAteer

Each runner received an Olympic size medal, a goody bag with chocolate, crisps, Lucazade, the opportunity to meet Jason ‘Trigger’ McAteer and to hold the Sam Maguire and Liam McCarthy Cups.  Everyone on team GCD did brilliantly and came in well under their targeted time and seemed totally up for taking part again next year.  It was a great experience, very well organised and I was delighted with my time of 22 mins.

Elena Ringo performing with 6 hula hoops

Elena Ringo performing with 6 hula hoops


23/05/14: 25 mins Hula Hooping, we had a bit of fun using two Hula Hoops at the same time this week, we couldn’t spin them for very long because they were different weights.  At the moment I can hula for 800 spins without dropping it, I counted once out of curiosity 🙂 I noticed some bruising on my hips this week probably after using 2 Hula’s and also having done 3 sessions in a week.



24/05/14: R&R


25/05/14: R&R


World’s Fastest Woman: Flo Jo


Flo Jo, the star attraction of the 1988 Seoul Olympics, the fastest woman of all time (her 100m & 200m records have yet to be beaten) and my childhood idol. The perfect combination of strength and femininity, meant her striking image become legendary.  It was only in later years that I learnt, while never proven, her career was tainted by rumours of drug use. Who was your childhood sporting idol?

Individual pics sourced from:

The F.I.T.T Principle



For me keeping in shape is all about juggling the above components, which is why I named my blog after the principle.  Whatever your level of fitness it’s worth considering these 4 elements when developing a training plan.  I like to mix these 4 components up to keep my training fresh and fun, I’ll be reviewing the Tabata dvd, a method created by Japanese scientist Professor Izumi Tabata which uses short sharp bursts of intense exercise, dubbed the ‘4 minute workout’!

For more info on the F.I.T.T principle check out:

For more info on Tabata check out: