Sunday, 24 February 2013

Back in the game... just!

This week’s training: 9 miles, Body Pump, Body Balance

The past ten days have been horribly frustrating. I took my first sick day in goodness knows how long and worked from home the rest of the week because I didn't think any of my colleagues would like to be around me coughing away constantly. I felt tired, achey and unable to breathe properly for a long time. I don't often get sick so when I do I'm a poor patient, especially at the moment when I'm trying to stick to a schedule. But my mum sent me a care package (mums are great) and I stayed in bed for days and compared sick notes and remedies with @amerbob on twitter, was cheered up but a special "Three From Me" dedication on the Cruising with the Commissioner show on Wireless FM from my aunt, and eventually I've started to feel brighter.

I took the opportunity to paint my nails in readiness for Paris... (sorry if you hate feet)

And got my race pack through for the Cranleigh 21mile race in March (that's 21 miles provided I maintain an 11 minute mile for the first 15).

I managed not get through a body pump class on Friday relatively cough free (taking it slightly easier than usual) and only spluttered during my first body balance class in ages during the parts where we were lying down. It just felt so good to do *something*! OH and I volunteered at parkrun on Saturday morning and I finally got to pick up my 50 t-shirt, which I'm rather proud of. We went to Dorset to visit his mum and go out for lunch and dinner with his brother and sister in law yesterday and stayed over so took a walk on Sandbanks this morning before coming home. Today is my long run day; I was scheduled to do 12 miles having missed out on 14 last week (I'm 25 miles behind in total) so I thought I'd go out and see how far my cough would let me get... answer is at least 9 miles! I did cough quite a bit on the way round and returned cold and achey from the coughing but really happy to have managed that much (11 minute miles if you're interested). I could have gone a bit further but I didn't want to over do things, especially as I was starting to feel an ache in my knee. 

Back in the game! One week until Paris! Can. Not. Wait.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

New lungs please

This week’s training: 6 miles running, 12 miles walking.

Suffolk was a really wonderful break. We were blessed with dry weather although high winds did stop us doing quite as much walking as we'd have liked. I managed the two 6 miles runs I'd planned to do in addition to three walks of 7, 7 and 5 miles. I got introduced to the joys of antique stores, ate ploughman lunches, drank locally brewed beer and played an extraordinary amount of Settlers of Catan in front of an open fire. I loved every minute.

We got home on Friday and I extended the holiday feeling by meeting up with a friend from Uni days to do some kayaking on the Thames; from Chelsea to Big Ben and back. I would recommend Kayaking London to anyone. They're well organised, friendly, easy going, run small groups (we were five pairs) and offer up plenty of titbits of local knowledge. They took photos of us throughout and uploaded them to facebook within an hour of coming ashore.The only time constraints seemed to be catching the tides in the right direction, otherwise we were left to go at our own pace.

Although it didn't feel overly strenuous at the time, I have two small blisters on my hands and aching arms to show for the 2.5 hours of paddling. Totally worth it. London has never seemed so peaceful.

Unfortunately my running mileage has taken a hit this week. I was meant to be going out for my longest run yet of 14 miles, however I seem to have developed a nasty cough/cold in the last couple of days in Suffolk. It was ok-ish yesterday, not bad enough to bring me down, but today I'm hacking away like a trouper and feeling very sorry for myself. I've read that running is ok if symptoms are above the neck but that running with a cough can bring it down to the chest and prolong it. It's so frustrating as I've not missed a single training element yet and I hate sitting around doing nothing but that's pretty much what I've been reduced to. I was due to go to Body Balance tonight but I think I'll have to cancel that too as I'm just coughing too much to enjoy it or be around other people really. This is going to impact next weeks training plans too. I'm on the verge of panicking about loss of fitness etc etc but the only sensible thing to do is rest, take the meds and not push too early to get back into my routine. I'll still be fine for Paris and the Marathon is far enough away that it shouldn't be a problem either... so really, I shouldn't be worried at all.

Just frustrated! 

Monday, 11 February 2013

Holidays are no excuse

This week’s training: 16 miles, Body Pump, Spin

The past week was less intense than the one before as I am currently in Suffolk enjoying a long-awaited holiday with my boyfriend and two of our very good friends. We’ve been here since Friday and it's been absolute bliss. The cottage is gorgeous, with four bedrooms, two living areas with open fireplaces and a big kitchen diner. The view is of heathland and the beach is two minutes walk away. 

The running kit has come with me, on advice from Andrew, my marathon mentor at running club, and I’ve enjoyed a 6 mile run in brand new surroundings already. It's been incredibly windy here so my run was hard work but the forest surroundings make up for it a bit. It's tricky to work out a route in new places so there's a certain amount of guess work but so far, so good. In addition we've already been on one 6.5 mile beach walk (we only intended to be out for an hour) and I expect there to be at least one more long walk in the coming week to keep the fitness up. My legs ache more than usual so I must be doing something right!

In the days before we left I fitted in a Body pump class where I upped my weights on three tracks and spin class number two in which I felt frustrated because I can't combine fast legs and any meaningful resistance. I'm guessing resistance is preferable to speed so I'll try harder next time. No club run for me this week as I run early that evening to give myself more time for holiday prep but a really brilliant lunch time run on Tuesday hat left me feeling zingy for the rest of the day.

I'm booking in my classes for when I get home and I've got a 14 miler to look forward to next weekend... yikes!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Fundraising Update - January

This post is a little overdue I'm afraid but as you'll know, things have been very busy around here lately!

I've now raised over £550 (excluding gift aid), that's about 18% of my target. Not too bad at all. I've not done much apart from email my colleagues again but I'm going to try and do a big drive and another bake sale in the coming month. I'd love to get to £750 before Paris but I think that's optimistic, especially as I've no time to stand outside supermarkets at the moment. Dad's going to publicise it on his internet radio show, I'm going to try and drum up some support on twitter and ask my Aunt to put some posters up in her office.

I'm trying to get some advice from a friend on how to approach businesses for sponsorship or prizes as I'd love to hold a raffle and also a sweepstake so people can guess my time for the London marathon. I think I'll set that up after Paris and get some tin-shaking dates in the diary too.

Any suggestions on other ways to raise some money would be really welcome.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Why do we run?

This article on the Guardian website’s been getting a lot of interest on twitter amongst the running community and for good reason. It tries to answer the question of why we, as a species, run and why so many of us enjoy it. I read it and just thought “YES”. I couldn’t have presented these ideas so eloquently and that, I suppose, is why I’m not a writer.

Running doesn't have logic on its side” but running brings me joy.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

One month until Paris!

This week’s training: 25 miles, Body Pump, Spin, Circuits

This week I’m starting to feel stronger. I’m enjoying running club more and more, meeting new people, sharing stories and pushing harder. I’ve ordered some iron on letters to personalise my running vest and I’ve been getting emotional thinking about the marathon, particularly the realisation that no matter what time I finish in, it will be a personal best. I’m starting to think I could set a new half marathon PB in Paris too!

No long-term aches or niggles after the Iceman event on Saturday however the lack of aches is likely due to my non-existent glute strength which is probably leading to an imbalance elsewhere. It’s not causing me any noticeable problems at the moment (unless you count my inability to run hills) but it probably will soon so I need address this. Even after my Body Pump class on Monday, which was followed by a 1-2-1 weights session in the gym, I didn’t have any aches in my glutes!

On Tuesday this week I had an appointment at Woking Running School for a free half hour technique analysis session. I’d registered my interest at the running show and promptly forgot about the whole thing but eventually got a date in the diary. After a short chat about my running and injury history I was filmed running on a treadmill from the side and behind. The clips were then reviewed with me and some basic advice given. I learnt that my arm movement is pretty good but that my pelvis tilts from side to side when I run due to those pesky glutes so my feet cross over. If I were to bring my heels up into a more circular motion (rather than the current elliptical one) and strike the ground with my landing foot more underneath me then it’s likely I could run for longer without getting tired as I’d be working more efficiently. So it’s clear I need to work on that glute strength and perhaps think about my heels more. The school offers 6 and 8 week courses from £260 but I just don’t see it making a difference in the time available to me so although it would suit others it’s not for me right now.

My miles this week were made up of 9 tempo miles with the club on Wednesday including running to the clubhouse (which is further away than I thought. Thank you to the lovely lady who gave me a lift home!), 3 miles running to and from my circuits class and a long run of 13 miles near my parents. I tried a different route as the last time I ran there it was all a bit grey and urban so I mapped out a smaller loop going South instead of North and included more laps of the park. More repetitive but more pleasant in terms of scenery, my trainers seemed good and it was one of the strongest, most enjoyable runs yet!
Thursday’s spin class was an experience! I’ve not done one of these in a long time so I didn’t push very hard, I was just getting a feel for it and oddly I’d no idea how long the class was meant to be. Turns out just half an hour but that’s a continuous half an hour of pedalling. Those bike seats HURT! I felt bruised for two days! I’d almost run to class but I’m glad I didn’t. The instructor was a real dish though so I guess that’s some compensation, although I’m keen to get my real bike fixed now. Circuits was just as evil.

I skipped the VLM experts session in London I’d had in the diary for Saturday in favour of tickets to a matinee of Cirque Du Soleil. When the schedule arrived for the experts session I didn’t see anything on there that I thought would be of huge benefit to me during the time I had available although I’m sure it could have been lots of fun had I had the whole day at my disposal.

It’s been a pretty full on week with less rest days than I’ve been used to but I’m feeling really good for it. 

Friday, 1 February 2013

New Trainers: Take Two

It was just three weeks ago that I took myself to my local independent sports store and got fitted with a new pair of treads for my training. Well although I really liked them, generally, I found that I was getting pins and needles in the balls of my feet when out running. I tried loosening off the laces but this didn't seem to make a lot of distance so I went back to the shop today to swap them over.

Just like Sweatshop and other large chains my store will change the shoes if they don't work for you. The guy who fitted me before was there today and suspected the shoes were too narrow. The model I had do come in a wider fitting but they didn't have my size so he tried me in two other shoes, the mens version, which I didn't feel quite right in (I'm not loyal to women's shoes if the fit of the mens is better as was the case with my walking boots for Kilimanjaro) and these pretty turquoise and blue ones, which I've ended up with (obviously).

The bright blue Adidas I tried on before were a no go apparently, the fit is narrower than the Brooks. I'm becoming quite fond of Brooks. The have a nifty feature called a "tongue tie" which stops the tongue slipping to one side and the swooshy thing on the side of these actualy has a nice little floral pattern on it. 

I had to pay a little more, £10.05, but was told to "call it £10". You wouldn't get that in Sweatshop, and this is why I'll give my custom to my local store as much as I can. I'll be trying these babies out on a 3 miler later before my long run this weekend. I shall report back!