A week of highs and the lowest of lows (week 15 review)

Total completed 831km

Total remaining 2169km

Total raised £1520

During run #100 I was hoping to get past the 800k mark today but at the turnaround point of my run I had a spasm in my right calf, I stopped and stretched it out and everything seem ok for about a km and then it went again damn it. I should have stopped then shut the run down and walked home but I didn’t. I sort of run hobbled back which in turn started to then cause tightness in my ankle ligaments 😦 I got home and stretched the hell out of my calf, did the old alphabet trick with the ankle, beat the living daylights out of myself with my foam roller and then smothered with deep heat and compressed, sounds a lot like a recipe lol. I then took 5mins to log my run on the running bug. Today was a very important day as not only was it my 100th run but I had been promised a poem from a fellow bug Alexandra Brown, and I was not to be disappointed check out her great poem here https://365days3000km.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/its-only-run-100-hurray/ But alas the 800km had to wait another day. But not too long as I passed it with a whimper on run #101 a very slow 5km with a heavily strapped calf and ankle hurray and boooooo all at the same time.

very-inspiring-blogger-awardThe following morning I got a really nice surprise when I opened my twitter account and saw that I had been nominated for not one but two blogging awards https://365days3000km.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/ive-been-nominated-for-two-blog-awards-by-caroline-thomas/  you could say I was slightly surprised. When I started out on this journey I viewed the fact that I had to do a blog and a daily and weekly post as a bit of a bind, it was not something I felt comfortable doing, “why the hell would anyone care what I have to say really?” But I viewed it as a necessaryversatileblogger111 evil. So when someone actually takes the time to say hey we really enjoy your blog it really does mean a lot to me so thank you not only to Caroline who nominated me for these awards but also to everyone who follows and comments on my blog. There we go that’s my Oscarish speech done and dusted (tears and all)

As I progressed into the week my calf started to feel a little more stable, and good news to as I have a big problem running with my calf compressed. It causes me major problems with my Tibialis anterior muscle  as documented in my earlier post https://365days3000km.wordpress.com/2013/01/14/from-heaven-to-hell-and-half-way-back-again-week-2-review/  but run #102 was an easy 6km, still strapped up but much better and then by #103 & #104 I was back up to 8km + and pain free phew.

Run #105 was a pretty uneventful 10km run but what I witnessed when I returned home was anything but. As I logged my run I had one eye on Sky Sports News as the first reports were coming in of the cowardly attacks on spectators and runners during the closing stages of the Boston Marathon. I just sat there numb as I watched the footage which I am sure you have all now seen of the first and second bombs exploding, at a time when people are either celebrating completing a life goal or cheering on loved ones and strangers, both proud and in awe of their achievement.

Since that day I have read and seen numerous accounts of what occurred and the single constant is the bravery of the race marshals, Police, Medical staff, Fire service and members of the public who rushed in to help those injured and killed without any concern that there may be further devices ready to be detonated, heroes every last one of them, and then the pride I felt to see how the running community/family has pulled together to show our support for all those affected by these terrible events,

I know that the run is in next week’s total but I have dedicated run #106 to all those effected by the events in Boston https://365days3000km.wordpress.com/2013/04/16/run-106/

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Ouch I’ve just run into a week long wall (Week 10 review)

Total completed 559km

Total remaining 2441km

Total raised £1335

I have mentioned in my previous posts that I have started to add a long run to my schedule. The distance of this run has varied from 15km -21km but I have found that it has really taken the pressure off my weekday runs. Following these long runs I set aside Saturday and Sunday as my recovery days and therefore only look to run 5-6km on these sessions, this usually is enough to get me back ready for my 8km runs Mon through to Thursday, well not this week though and there was no real warning sign.

Friday’s 21km went really well, with no issues either during or after the run. My recovery runs on Saturday and Sunday went to plan and I was feeling pretty good as I looked to start my 10th week. I got up Monday morning all ready to tuck into a nice 8km for breakfast but I felt from the start of the run that things just weren’t right, I just had nothing in the tank. I had fuelled properly, I had done my pre run warm up to the letter but my body was just saying no not today. Conscious of previous problems caused by pushing it when I should have been a tad more sensible, I backed off and wrapped my run up at 6km, I had hit the wall big time.

Hitting the Wall

The next day though I made a big mistake I decided that because of the previous days run I would leave my Tuesday run until the evening giving me a big 36 hour break, great idea yeah. Well yeah it would have been if I had not then thought, hey why don’t I commute on the bike today and stretch the legs out a bit…… errrrr because yesterday you were running on fumes idiot!!!!!!!! And guess what when I ran that night after 6km I was dead and my legs were in bits (what a bloody idiot). So after giving myself a damn good talking to I decided to write this week off and just use it to recover, no runs over 6km no cycling and no swimming.

As I reached my Thursday and Friday runs my legs started to come back a little bit and for once I managed to resist the urge to push on and I forced myself home after the scheduled 6km. It is though so hard not to push for that 8km when you know that with every 6km run you are dropping a further 2km behind where you need to be. This is not usually an issue but when there is no way on earth that a 21km or anything near that distance is going to be run in the week it really is difficult to kkep the big picture at the front of your thoughts. But for once I was sensible and I got to the weekend feeling much stronger, I decided now was the time to give the legs a bit of a test so on my next run I dropped my pace right back and set off with the sole intention of hitting my 8km average and although not easy my legs were definitely starting to come back to me phew.

As mentioned last week I had the Clough and Taylor peoples run on Sunday at Donnington Park.

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This was a run that I had been looking forward to doing so much, it is not every day you get to run round a race track without a steward trying to drag you off, but as the week progressed I knew deep down that this run was going to be a week too early for me (GUTTED) and so I purposely sabotaged any chance of doing this 10am run by doing my Saturday run late in the evening giving me no chance to recover.

This was a decision I was glad that I had made as I awoke on Sunday morning to see what can only be described as a blizzard outside my bedroom window. What the hell snow!!!!!! NO NO NO NO NO NO  I was getting myself all prepped for Spring this was SO not in my plan. So my last run of the week was in quite literally a blizzard it was so bad that I couldn’t see a thing, complete whiteout. I didn’t really care though, my legs felt pretty good, I had a spring back in my step and I had the Rocky Balboa soundtrack on my IPod does it get any more hard-core than that lol.

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Until next week and hopefully with NO MORE SNOW!!

Week 3 review: The snow is here and long may it stay.

Total completed 133km

Total remaining 2867km

Total raised: £1120

Well it took its time but winter has finally hit Nottingham making run #14 my first run in the snow ever. I had kept a close eye on the forecasts so I knew it was going to come and I had spent the last couple of days before uming and aring about whether to wear my trail shoes/spikes. I decided though that as I was still fighting to run through this shin problem it was probably best to stick with my New Balance and just play dodge the ice. It was in fact a great run, I slowed my pace right down and really concentrated on striking on my mid foot and I kept the calf guards off and used them for post run recovery only. With all of that and the extra cushioning provided by the fresh snow it made for a really pleasing and picture postcard start to the week.

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

Run #15 was the run that was going to push me through the 100km mark. Now I had hoped to have had this target smashed within the first 2 weeks but due to my leg issues this was not going to happen and the fact that it was going early in week 3 has really given me a massive boost. So I headed out ready for a carbon copy of my last run bouncing along on a nice mattress of snow. Oh no life is not that fair,  I had not given much thought to the fact that it had not actually snowed again, but it had been well below zero for the whole day. This meant ice and because of the wind, ice that had been covered with a slight dusting of snow, lethal especially when you are not expecting it. I am not quite sure why I wasn’t expecting it but Yep you guessed it 2km in and I am down, not on my arse that would have been fine as mentioned before that has become nicely padded since Christmas , but no it was somewhere far more painful. As my right foot hit the ground it shot off in front of me bringing my left leg down causing me to drag my shin across the frozen jaggered surface, OUUUUUCCCHHHH. Now I know it doesn’t look much but when your shins have already spent the best part of 3 weeks screaming at you this was the last thing I wanted. Luckily once I was home and iced it there was no major swelling a few bumps and bruises but nothing to worry about phew. Well until I rubbed the deep heat into my leg YAWZAR.

It did hurt honest

It did hurt honest

Even with this slip I would say that currently my legs are running at 65-70% but that is now more because I am running on fatigued legs rather than due to any injury. I do put this improvement down a lot to paying more attention to my running style and losing my calf guards but also I am really starting to concentrate on my post run recovery. I have historically been abit rubbish with this, to the point that my routine if any comprised of a pathetic attempt at some form of stretch (that I would rapidly get bored with) and a nice soak in a radox bath with a cup of tea. It has become painfully apparent that this highly thought out post run plan is not going to cut it. So my routine currently involves

  • Real good stretching session
  • Icing as soon as I finish at the moment this is easy as I just have a nice sit down in the snow and cover my legs over, lovely
Lovely

Lovely

  • I beat myself for a while with my trusty massage roller
  • Then it’s fire time with the deep heat and compression

This routine has really started to pay dividends and has led to my first pain free run since the problems started. I did a nice steady 6km again keeping the pace slow and concentrating on my mid foot strike but with there being no pain it was so hard to stop at 6km. I just had to keep telling myself that I need to build slow or I am going to be back at run #8 nearly in tears getting to the sanctuary of a park bench… and I don’t want that again thank you very much. So I was good and I bottled up my 10 mile wide competitive streak and got home. With the next couple of runs I have managed to start hitting the average I require and have begun eating into that small deficit.

This upturn in fitness has had a lot to do with the snow, which has been a real god-send for me, it has given me that little extra cushioning that is really taking the pressure off my lower legs and I am really starting to get myself back up to full strength. But even with that being the case I have made the decision that night running may not be the best time for me to run, and that a morning routine may help me further. The 2 main reasons for this are that

  1. It really is not good for me to come in from work at 6 and then high-tail it straight out of the door for a run
  2.  I am running at the end of the day and I feel I am Running on overly tired legs

So morning runs I think are on the menu for week 4 I figure that if I run in the morning I then have the whole day to get my legs nicely stretched out and I have a full nights rest so IMO I should be much fresher in the morning than in the Evening well that’s the cunning plan

So are you a morning or evening runner ?

 So that’s week 3 done, week 4 is just around the corner and contains my birthday. Now this is usually a day of rest for me but now a Birthday run full of cake and a full English breakfast (it’s a ritual) looms.

Week one review: This is going to be hard

Wow well that’s the first week done, well 6 days completed. Now the important stuff first

  • 52km completed
  • 2948km remaining
  • £1060 raised so far

I had spent the whole time since deciding to do this challenge dreading the first couple of months. Knowing that over the last couple of years January and February have been horrendous due to snow and ice. I had already mentally prepared myself with possibility of only being able to do the 5km min per day due to this and that I would probably be looking at heading into March maybe even April way behind schedule. Now this may still happen and I for one still expect a cold snap but to be ahead of schedule at the end of the first week and to have raised over £1000 has been a massive boost.

The build-up to the start of this has been far from perfect as I am sure you have read (you better have :-P) I had a Strain/Minor tear of Peroneus Brevis tendon in my foot which meant that pretty much the whole of December was wiped out No running and No Bike booooooo. The problem this caused was two fold not only did it mean I really fell out of the habit of getting out there and sweating, I also went through the temptation riddled Christmas period. People I have known for a while mention that I have lost weight, and I have. I dropped from 13st 2lb’s in 2010 down to 10st 10lb’s for the Outlaw triathlon in July 2012, but since then little by little it has snook back on. I know a lot of this has to do with not doing the level of training I was previously doing prior to the Outlaw and eating crap (Christmas). But to go from 10st 10lb’s to 11st 12lb’s in the space of 6 months is pretty bad. I read a statistic once that said when running the weight put onto your landing foot is tripled and I can honestly say I felt every single additional onze on the 1st January 2013 as I hauled my sorry ass up the hill at Wollaton Park.

hill

That first run though was a great day and really was just what I needed to get me right up for the challenge, but because of that the following days run felt very strange. I am not really sure why as I probably do 90% of my running on my own and I quite enjoy plodding along listening to my music, but I did feel lonely whether it was just missing the banter and back slapping of the day before or just maybe hearing your own thoughts reminding you that this is what you are going to be doing for the next 363 days. I am sure that with time, getting into the right mind set and some banging tunes (feel free to add your favourite tracks to my playlist blog https://365days3000km.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/running-playlist/) all will be ok. I am also very lucky that I have a long list of eager running buddies lining up to keep me company on those lonely long runs it will be interesting to see how long that list is should the snow start 🙂

running-man

As I approached the end of the week I really did start to feel the strain of running everyday. I am used to exercising everyday but usually this is split up between Swimming, Cycling and Running so that I am never overdoing a certain muscle group. But as I hit 3km on run #6 my legs just started screaming “no more we usually have a rest by now what the hell are you doing”. The pain was targeted very acutely on my Tibialis Anterior muscle and more worryingly more prominent on me right leg

tibialis-anterior

Photo curtosy of studyblue.com

(SeeTurkey Trot post https://365days3000km.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/the-turkey-trot-half-marathon/ ) I managed to grit my teeth and bang in the remaining 4km, and after a nice soak and a good dose of deep heat my legs felt much better and more importantly no real tenderness on the shin bone, phew.

I think this is something I am going to have to get used to I have done an Ironman triathlon and Marathons and the intense training that comes with both, but it is now hitting home that I am really going to be putting my body through the mill with this and there are times where it is going to hurt. I do feel though that as long as I am smart with my distance choices, targeted lower limb strengthening (see lower leg exercises from Steve Lloyd of http://www.absolutetri.com/ here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arYsfdetHNw&list=UU3SUD6YxNdI1Gnzvi4Uy_WQ&index=34 ) and my recovery then I should be ok, well thats the plan 🙂

The Turkey Trot Half Marathon

The Turkey trot (www.turkeytrot.org.uk/)  is a half marathon run in Keyworth, UK and it is a fixture on my race calendar. I usually view it as one last hurrah for the race year, This year was different though not only because of the challenge ahead of me in 2013 but I have had a niggling problem, I really don’t want to use the ‘I’ word with my Ankle/calf/shin. I have spent the last 2 weeks trying to convince myself it is not my shin as a good friend of mine in http://www.absolutetriathlonclub.co.uk/ had her season destroyed this year with shin splints and every time I get a niggle I just think the worse. So I gave my legs a solid weeks rest in preperation for the race.

Now it’s two buses for me to get to Keyworth from my house so I had to be up and out of the house by 7:30am for a 10:15 start, but I was up and ready to go with plenty of time to just have a nice relaxing journey to the race. That was until I got to the bus stop and read 25mins until the next bus, bugger what do you mean next bus 25 mins. I hate it when this happens so then you have a choice to make do I sit around and freeze waiting for what at best will be 25mins at worse could be 30mins plus or do I take a hike into town? A nice stroll stands perfect yeah, stretch my broken legs a bit surly that’s a no brainer right, well problem is I have to catch a connection from Nottingham centre to Keyworth at 8:35 miss it and its no race. Well I am not sitting around for half an hour so I will walk and keep my eyes peeled for the bus and jump on part way there, sorted. So I start the wanting to be on the bus walk constantly looking over my shoulder looking like I think I am being tailed by some MI5 agent. So after about 20 mins of this my legs are nicely stretched but my neck is screwed. But I hit the bus stop and it’s telling me 3 mins until the next bus good enough for me and what do you know bang on time it turns up hurray.

By now my nice relaxing journey is in tatters I have only 10mins to get across town and get the Keyworth bus. Now for those who don’t know Nottingham this is about a 10min walk so running is required, but hey easy I am nicely warmed up, I have rested for a week oh and I am on my way to do a half marathon so a 1 mile jog across town is going to be easy right …… wrong as my foot hits the ground I get an intense pain shooting from my ankle through my shin into my quads… great so that’s me knackered then. I decided to give it a few meters and see how it goes but no this is not good. Under normal conditions I would have thought it’s not that bad and it’s my last race of the year just run through it wimp. But it’s not and I have a pretty big challenge on in 2013 and a lot of people have donated their hard earned cash so with all that in mind should I quit before I even get to the start line? Look at the big picture so on and so on. But I am a right stubborn bugger so after what seemed like ages of contemplation but actually a matter of seconds I decided Nah it will be ok, what’s the worst that can happen and off I limped, jogged, walked to Broadmarsh Bus station and made it with ages to spare well 20 seconds. I got on the bus thinking phew made It but still a little niggling part of me thinking should I have missed this, am I lucky getting the bus in time or unlucky?

So anyway after half an hour of wiggling my ankle and leg around on the bus I arrived in Keyworth convinced everything was going to be fine and all ready for the race, well all ready for a nice warm cup of Chicken soup. So soup despatched and nice and toasty warm I got myself kitted up and ready for the start. I always think it’s interesting looking at what people are wearing when you get into the winter races Now I will be completely honest here I am a big girls blouse and if I could have got one on I would have worn that too. But I thought I would be ok in leggings, a Base layer, my club cycling top, my waterproof shell (very Kindly provided by http://www.ronhill.com/) a pair of gloves and a hat. Yes yes I know looking back at it now and deep down I think I pretty much knew at the time I had gone a bit over board but last year it was bloody freezing. But seriously I mean it was probably one below at that time and there are people swanning around in shorts and vests. I mean c’mon I don’t even wear that in the summer. I have yet to make my mind up whether these people are double hard, showing off or just a little mental ??? Thoughts from the floor??

So anyway we march off to the start I am feeling rather smug now as the vested lunatics shiver away in the 10mins we have to wait for the race to start. I think my smugness lasted about 2 miles, it was at the point I started my turkey trot striptease luckily I had my cycling top on so utilised the back pockets it was still very much like a drunken game of buckaroo much to the amusement of my running partner who unwittingly became my mobile clothes horse for about half a mile. But by mile 3 the world was a much cooler place again and I hadn’t even realised that I was in no pain at all, great all my foot wiggling had paid off who needs a sports physio :-p and maybe a sub 1:45 is on the cards here after all.

We hit mile 6 and I am not sure if this was because Den asked how I was doing or whether it was just a coincidence but as he did my ankle just started screaming at me to stop. I think in any other race I may just have given it another half mile, maybe a mile tops and if it still hurt then drop out (considering 2013) problem is I was 6 miles from the finish and in the middle of bloody nowhere so it’s either stop and freeze or grit your teeth and plough on. Now we have quite clearly established I don’t like being cold so I just had to grit my teeth and dig in. The one crumb of comfort I had was that the pain was defo in my ankle and not in my shin and as I plodded on it did gradually fade away happy days I thought as I turned to Den and cheerfully stated that all was good in my world and I was ready to pick the pace back up…. “So you’ve forgotten about the hill around this corner then” Den replied, bugger.

A pretty uneventful second half of the race unfolded and we headed towards the finish line. What is it with people and the end of races? During the race it’s all “hi how you doing”, “well done nearly there” but as soon as they get a sniff of that finish line it’s like a Shark hunt at Amity Island, every single position suddenly is like gold dust. Now if you are leading the race or challenging near the top end I could maybe forgive people getting a little carried away, but when you are trundling along in the middle of the field is it really acceptable to started barging past people in the finishing funnel?? In fairness the guy in question here did look and act like he was the offspring of two very very close siblings but still really!! As I was not really that distraught at finishing 511th instead of 510th I let it slide and allowed my little inbred friend his moment in the spotlight. Anyway there were far more important things afoot, Santa had arrived and was dishing out the finishing mementos. So following my meet with Santa (always a pleasure) I followed the welcoming smell of Chicken soup like one of the Bisto kids with my finishing certificate under my arm and a pretty handy time of 1:53:03 (prov).

The Turkey Trot