Tag Archives: running

It’s oh so quiet ….

Looking at my sleeping toddler, spread akimbo over the sofa, I could well be referring to the blissful quietness in my lounge right now. But I’m not! My silence has been deafening of late …..

I must apologise for dropping off the face of the planet for the last couple of months. I started back at work full-time and in amongst the madness of trying to juggle that and family life, everything else fell off the agenda. My running ceased, my weight crept up and my comfort eating went into overdrive – bad combination.

But I am back … with a vengeance. It was that, or be dissected by my ever shrinking jeans! I am pleased to announce that the diet has been rekindled and I am now down to the lightest I have been in over 4 years! I am no longer classed as ‘obese’ (although I struggled with fitting into that bracket to start with) and am now simply ‘overweight’ – losing 17 lbs over the last few weeks already. Just another 52lb to go! 🙂 And the best thing … I have the running bug again, which is probably a  good thing, given I have the Great North Run to complete in little over a month.

And so, it’s time to get back to the writing too …. watch this space! 🙂

 

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Rollin, Rollin, Rollin ….

My new toy arrived in the post yesterday and it’s going to be my muscles’ new best friend. I’ve been eyeing up one of these for a while, finally giving into the urge to hit the ‘buy now’ button earlier this week. So ‘The Beast’ has arrived. That sounds like some dodgy sex toy doesn’t it? But it’s nothing quite so exciting – this is my new foam roller. Aptly named, as it’s going to beast my sore over-used muscles into submission.

20140516_112144I’m finally back in action, after a couple of months of muscle recuperation, and with a busy summer of races ahead the training is on! This time I’ve had a eureka moment and realise I need to change my philosophy. I now know, without good foundations, I’m going to set myself up for nothing but problems. I’m taking it slowly, easing my mileage up gently, whilst religiously stretching for at least ten minutes every day. Now I have my new muscle pounder to throw into my daily routine.

It’s one of those masochistically enjoyable past-times. It hurts like hell, but it feels good all at the same time. I paid about £15 for my one and that’s got to be a financially sound investment. At £40 a pop for a session with the sports massage therapist, I’m hoping this is going to keep the professionals at bay and save my bank balance at the same time.

20140516_111411There are a great range of exercises you can do with it, which work all those pesky muscles and I’m definitely feeling some relief from it already. Let’s hope long-term this helps me get back on form ready for the season ahead. And with three weeks in a row of races in June (Summer Wolf, Water Wipeout and Trailblazer) I’ll be needing all the help I can get!

I just need to get it back off my little boy, as he’s taken a bit of a shine to it. 🙂

Off track

I need a stern talking to.

Somewhere along the lines I got a bit waylaid. The beginning of this year started in a tidal wave of motivation, but the fates have been against me of late.

A friend recently asked me how I fit it all in. My response, ‘I have no idea.’ But what I do know, is it is all held together by a fine string, which holds the balancing act precariously on the edge of a ledge. One wrong move, one extra burden thrown into the equation, the string snaps and the whole lot comes tumbling down. It’s a bit like an episode of Road Runner, and I land first with all the other shit falling on top of me. So I am now covered in crap and no longer balanced!

In this case, the great fall was set in place by a rather inconvenient running injury. It was enough to stop my running for a couple of months, which means less endorphines to keep me perky, less calories burned off to help with the weight loss and a slippery slide to self-destruction on the whole health and fitness front. I well and truly fell off the band wagon in the process and every attempt to clamber back on has been faced by a convenient bout of illness – a cold here, a chest infection there …. the list goes on, as do the excuses.

This morning I had to remind myself what this blog is all about. A constant reminder to stay on track to reach my goals. I haven’t completely lost the plot as far as all my challenges go – I’m currently ‘learning a new word every day for a month’ and we recently got a new addition to the family – our Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Choccie. But a large part of the challenges are related to fitness – and those ones have been sorely neglected of late. Not without good reason, but the longer I wallow in my self-neglect the harder it will be to regain my motivation. So the time has come to get back on track …. and I have an action plan ….

  1. The rest of this week …. spend 10 minutes stretching every day (my muscles are still very tight)
  2. Next week …. start some light yoga to aid stretching out my muscles AND START MY 5:2 DIET AGAIN
  3. The week after … add some light pilates exercises into the mix
  4. The following week …. go on holiday (and try not to fall off the wagon again!)
  5. First week of May …. ease myself back into running again

… after all I only have 2 months until Summer Wolf Run (eeek!).

Reading is dead!

imagesI have been delaying picking up the phone, in a state of semi-denial. After a week of coughing up yellow phlegm and a stiff-backed awakening this morning, it started to sink in. The final nail in the coffin was my attempt at a little 3 km run (my first in a week), having to resign myself to a not fully recovered chest or muscles at the half way point. The split in my running trousers didn’t go far in improving my mood either. So, as I admitted defeat and walked the rest of the way home (via Tescos to cheer myself up – bang goes my fast day too!) I dug my mobile out and made the fateful call.

My friend has done Reading HM annually, without fail, for the best part of the last six years. Every year I have tentatively alluded to doing it with her, every time never quite making the commitment. This year, I committed! I had my place booked in December and I was working hard at training – I had even got my mileage up to 11 miles a couple of months ago. After slowly plodding my way round Mablethorpe HM last October, this was going to be a breeze in comparison. Then …. it all went to shit! Courtesy of my muscular aches and pains (the joys of a weak core) I have spent the last six weeks not doing very much running at all. Reading HM was starting to drift off out of my grasp. I was clinging on for dear life, hoping to make a full recovery – after all I HATE not achieving something I put my mind too. But alas, today I realised I needed to put my stubborn nature to one side and look at the longer term picture. I know if I go ahead with Sunday, I am going to cause myself a world of pain and set my running back a good couple of months again. When I put it all in perspective, I know I am making the right decision.

My friend was fine. She has her OH and sisters in tow. They are all feeling under trained and/or injured – so perhaps I would have been in good company after all. When I hung up the phone, I promised whole-heartedly to run with them next year. ‘You bloody well better,’ was my friends response. So I have a feeling she will be holding me to that promise!

I am off to drown my sorrows in chocolate – fasting can wait until tomorrow. I will then resign myself to a slower paced life of Pilates and the odd slow and short plod for the next couple of months! Alas, for slow recoveries! 😦

Pace myself

fat homer runningNow I know I’m a slow runner. I can often be seen taking up position at the back of the pack on many a race! However, it doesn’t stop me wanting to be quicker. I have started to improve a bit with my speeds of late – I think the combination of consistently running 3-4 times per week, plus starting to lose some weight is beginning to have an impact. Just the other week, I knocked out my fastest pace ever 7.13 min/km. I apologise now to those of you who work in min/miles, but my head just can’t convert over to it – so you will have to do your own conversions!!!! 🙂 So, last week, I was out doing another speedy run (for me!) – I was feeling strong, confident, fast and to be honest, rather pleased with myself! Then another female runner snuck up behind me out of nowhere, overtook me and whizzed past at supersonic speed – whilst making it look like she was just out of a stroll – crushing my confidence in her wake!!!! Don’t you just hate it when that happens? Like I said, I know I’m slow, but when I’m feeling fast for once in my life, I could do without having my slowness rubbed in my face!!!! One day missy – I will be as fast as you – just you wait and see! Ahem! 😉

Anyway, all this thinking about pacing lately has led me to do some sums. I have a half marathon coming up in a few weeks time and I would really like to get under 3 hours this time. But my bigger challenge is to aim to do the Great North Run in Sept in under 2.5 hours – a huge cut in my current times (current PB (don’t laugh!) 3 hrs 01 min). This means I need to be running an average pace of 6.82 min/km. Not too huge a distance from my 7.13 min/km – but at the moment I have no hope of maintaining a pace like that for that length of distance. So, I have a way to go yet!

But seriously though, maybe I am giving myself a bit of a hard time! When I started out running I was closer to 10-11 min/km – so for me, this is a vast improvement. One piece of running advice I read once, which perhaps I should heed is: Don’t compare your speed to that of others. It is your own personal improvements that count! So, on that note, perhaps things aren’t so bad after all!!!

Out of the 15 stone club!

I’ve had another great week on the diet. I weighed myself this morning and I have lost another 2 lbs. That’s a total of 10 lb all together, and the best thing – I am now out of the 15 stone club!!!!! Just another 4 stone 11 lbs to go to target weight. Bring it on!!!! 🙂

Apparently I am EXTREMELY adorable as well! Unfortunately it wasn’t actually a compliment I received! 😦 Just my horoscope for 2014! Which, with comments like that, is of course scarily accurate!!!! 😉 I am going to hold my hands up and admit to stealing this idea from someone else’s blog – thank you FiftyFourandAHalf! But I couldn’t resist when I followed the link and checked out my ‘VERY ACCURATE HOROSCOPE FOR 2014’. Oh and it does say that I will have 4 years of bad luck if I don’t share it … I don’t want to tempt fate after all!

So, apparently this is me …..

scorpioSCORPIO – The Addict (October 23 to November 21)
EXTREMELY adorable. Loves to joke. Very good sense of humour. Will try almost anything once. Loves to be pampered. Energetic. Predictable. GREAT kisser. Always get what they want. Attractive. Loves being in long relationships. Talkative. Loves to party but at times to the extreme. Loves the smell and feel of money and is good at making it but just as good at spending it! Very protective over loved ones. HARD workers. Can be a good friend but if is disrespected by a friend, the friendship will end. Romantic. Caring. 4 years of bad Luck if you do not share this post.

…. and it is scarily quite accurate.

EXTREMELY adorable … well naturally (I wish!)! 🙂 Good sense of humour – well I think I’m funny! I do tend to use humour a lot though – after all life is too short to be deadly serious all the time! I will try almost anything once ….. once upon a time maybe, but I am a bit more conservative in my old age. I am still game for a lot of things though and don’t shy away from most challenges! Love to pampered – a chance would be a fine thing (you listening up Rob?!). Energetic – that’s debatable – I could do with a bit more at times. Predictable – yes, I am a creature of habit! 😉 GREAT kisser and attractive – I’m taking votes on that one?! 🙂 Always get what I want – well I haven’t won the lottery yet! But I do tend to be a bit of a ‘dog with a bone’ when I want something, so people probably give in a lot of the time and let me have my own way for a bit of peace! Loves to be in long relationships – well Rob and I are coming up to nearly 14 years together now! This is fairly accurate to be honest, as my shortest ever relationship was 2 years! A comment in my year book when I finished sixth form was; ‘check out all those rings’ – alluding to various rings I accumulated from ‘serious’ boyfriends throughout my school years! I love to party and can take it to extremes at times – to be honest I am much more of a home bod. I’d rather be watching the telly with my family than out partying the night away. However, on the rare occasions that I do get out these days, I do like to push the boat out a bit (the last cocktail party is proof of that!). 😉 Talkative – it has been known (especially after a glass of wine)! I am caring and romantic at heart – but I don’t bother with the romance nowadays as the OH doesn’t appreciate it!), and I am fiercely protective of the ones I love. I have a few close friends and I am very loyal to them. But I do have a tendency to hold a bit of a grudge, which has ended more than one friendship in the past! 😦 I do work hard – in fact I can get a bit too absorbed in things at times! And as for money; I love having it, I love spending it and quite frankly I am always skint because it flows through my hands like water!!! An old boyfriend’s father once said to me that ‘saving is deferred spending’ – perhaps not the wisest thing to say to a 20-year-old me, as it has formed the basis of my life mantra ever since!!!!! I would love to be better with money, but I am a bit of a lost cause – lets see how long it takes me to tick off challenge number 10 (save £1,000)! 🙂

Would love to know what you think of your own horoscopes! 🙂

Oh, look what came in the post this morning – my racing number for the Mizuno Reading Half Marathon – there’s no turning back now!!!! 🙂 reading half marathon number

I have actually been a bit achy this week to be honest, which has held me back a little bit with the frequency of my running. I think I am still partly paying the price for last weekend’s run. So, yesterday I decided maybe I should do a nice bit of stretching instead. I heard that Yoga can be good for runners, as we often suffer with tight leg muscles (which my calves can contest to!!!). I found this great yoga work-out on Runnersworld and it felt really lovely to stretch everything out a bit. I would highly recommend it – but probably not with a toddler trying to climb on your back throughout!!!! 😉

yoga for runners
CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO – Essential Yoga for Runners

A wee run …..

So, Sunday morning (not so bright and early) I decided to go out for my long run of the week. Last week I had a couple of runs which were just really crap! You know the sort – you’re having an off day and feel really sluggish, heavy and uncoordinated! I had mixed feelings about this run, hoping that it wasn’t going to be 12km of unpleasant plodding! I decided some good pre-run fuel might help to give me a little kick in the right direction – so I gobbled up some multi-grain toast and guzzled a bottle of Lucozade sport before I set off. Oh, I might have even decided to take out one of my new energy gels for a test drive too!!! 20140114_120729I know, I know … slight overkill! But I want to start testing out some energy gels in preparation for the Reading half marathon in March – and if I don’t try them soon, I’ll run out of time! There are a lot of people out there who wouldn’t use an energy gel for this distance. But as my last half marathon took me 3.01 hours to finish, I am in need of a few pick me ups along the way! 🙂 So off I set, like an Energiser bunny, actually feeling full of life and strong legged for a rare moment. I think this might have been my downfall though, as it made me feel confident enough to go ‘exploring’ and take a new route! Needless to say, I got a little bit lost! 🙂 So after a couple of stops for some directions, 17.35km and 2 hrs 43 mins later, I finally crawled through the front door (Much to the OH’s annoyance, having been stuck ‘holding the toddler’ all the morning!). I tried out of the SiS energy gel during this run and it had the most disgusting sludgy texture, but it did definitely perk me up a bit. I think I would have struggled a lot more without it! At least I clocked up some more miles than planned and am now at 30.32 miles year to date. Only another 969.38 more to go before the end of the year! Aaaah – now my legs are in need of a good couple of days rest!

Did I mention that I also did some strength exercises before I went for my run – all part of my mission to be able to do a pull up! Let’s just say, I think my little boy has more chance of doing a pull up before I ever do! 🙂

Jack's attempt at some pull ups!
Jack’s attempt at some pull ups!

On a slightly different note; does anyone else suffer with bladder issues when running? I apologise for the personal nature of my blog at the moment (the other day it was all about my boobs!), but being a mum I don’t bother trying to retain any dignity these days – that went out the window right about the same time as childbirth took place!!! 🙂 Apparently my fascination with toilets started from a young age. My parents often reminisce about my ‘need to go’ to the loo at least 10 times everywhere we went! Nowadays, I still have a tendency to go to the toilet in new locations and  can’t stop myself from passing comment on ‘how nice (or not) the lavatories are’! I know – I’m strange! 🙂 Anyway, when I go for a run my bladder seems to go into overdrive. At one of my races, I went for 6 toilet trips in the space of 1 hour in the lead up to the start of the race! And on training runs I frequently have to do a ‘Paula Radcliffe’, though usually more discreetly behind some trees, because if I ‘need to go’ then I can’t concentrate on my running at all! I am dreading the day that the ‘need’ takes me mid-race (so far I have been lucky enough to avoid that!). Am I the only person who struggles with this? I can’t be alone surely?!

While I’m waffling on about my running! I thought I might share this great article I found on how to lace your running shoes. I never realised that it was all so technical. I struggle with pain on the top of my right foot quite often, which I have attributed to a spot of tendon trouble. It was only after a bit of research to see what I could do to help, that I discovered lacing my shoes in a different way may relieve the pressure! 20140112_135254I have now tried a few different methods, and so far the ladder method seems to be working for me and has made a big difference. Shame it doesn’t make me run faster too! 🙂

I also managed to do one of my random acts of kindness this week! I stumbled across this great cause. Rachel Knowles is a 5-year-old twin. She was born prematurely and has cerebral palsy and is unable to walk without a walking frame. There is an operation she can have, recommended by Great Ormond Street Hospital, which will hopefully enable her to walk, but the NHS have refused to pay for it. If she can raise enough money, then she can get the operation early this year and hopefully be able to make her dream of walking come true (something many of us take for granted). Without the op, she will be destined to a life in a wheelchair and many more operations on her legs. I wasn’t able to help much – but I made a small donation to the cause and I am really hoping that if lots of other people help out too, with what they can afford, then she can get her wish. Good luck Rachel.

Rachel Knowles
Rachel Knowles

My boobs are shrinking!

I stood on the scales this morning – and I have now lost a whopping 8lb in 2 weeks (woop, woop!). I am mightily pleased with this – long may it continue!!!!! 🙂 Thanks to good old Weightwatchers and a strict running regime, the effort seems to be paying off nicely.

indexDoes anyone else notice though that the first place the weight seems to come off is their boobs? I am a fairly hourglass figure, but in my pre-pregnancy slim days, I was a small handful of a 34B cup. Now, thanks to all those pregnancy hormones and increased calorific consumption I am now more of a 40DD (or thereabouts)! I’m not having a moan, but, there are plenty of extra love handles to go round at the moment – so why does the weight have to come off the bit I quite fancy keeping a bit extra of? After all, a few more pounds off the thighs, stomach and hips would surely make more sense! 😉

Looking on the bright side ….. some smaller boobies (along with a new sports bra) will hopefully = less under boob runners chaffing at the Reading half marathon in March! Anyone who had the misfortune of putting up with my moans of sore boobs after my first half marathon (Mablethorpe) last October will know how super tender they were! Red raw springs to mind. Thank god for Sudocrem is all I can say. Having kids has it’s advantages – there is every cream and remedy known to mankind knocking around the house somewhere! I know, I know – never happy – I moan with big boobs, I moan when they get smaller! 🙂 One things for sure though …. a spot of shopping for a heavy duty ‘over the shoulder boulder holder’ will be in store! 🙂 Maybe something a bit like this ….

largestbra

Jantastic

Who’s signed up for Jantastic – I know I have! I really must stop finding running sites to sign up to, or I’m going to end up spending more time logging and blogging my runs than I do actually running!!!! 🙂

That aside, think it’s a great way to keep motivated through the winter months. I am aiming for 4 runs per week for January! It starts TODAY!

Come check it out … we can even be ‘rivals’!!!! 🙂

jantastic