Wednesday 31 March 2010

Weather to run (or not)

Spring has not got off to the best start here in Scotland this year. Despite the clocks going forward last weekend, we were suddenly forecast snow this week. After my bare-armed run in the sun on Saturday, I found this difficult to believe, but sure enough, last night, the snow started falling and it kept coming this morning.

Thank goodness it didn't settle, because running in the snow and ice is not my idea of fun. This winter I had some real problems sliding about on the ice and stomping through the snow. I was always worried about getting injured.

Even on Sunday, the wind really got to me. I just find strong winds make me very angry very quickly. I get all enraged and think 'Aargh, just leave me alone!!!'.

But since I started running more regularly, I've almost learned to love the rain. I still hate going out and walking anywhere in the rain, and I'll always prefer a warm, dry, sunny day, but I've realised that a good run in the rain can be invigorating. On Monday evening I was feeling stressed after a day of bad moods and tantrums from Emma, and Pete was late home, so I didn't get a chance to go out until 8pm, when it was dark and pouring with rain. I was very close to not bothering, but I pulled my baseball cap on and went out for 3 miles. It was great. I got faster and faster, and felt as though I'd pounded away the day's stresses. I came home drenched and cold, but feeling refreshed and alive!

(Having said that I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it'll stay dry for my Jog Scotland run tonight).

In other news, I picked up Robbie's new bike today. As the snow/rain stopped, we went out for a little ride. He's got stabilisers to keep him balanced, but he's struggling a bit with the pedalling. Every time we got to an uphill slope, I had to give him a push, or drag him up the hill. I suppose he needs to get his little legs used to pushing those pedals round, and hopefully he'll be able to cycle around the place soon. On the downhills though, he went off confidently, and I had a real feeling of pride watching him propel himself along without any help! Needless to say, it'll be a while yet before
he's accompanying me on long runs on his bike...

Saturday 27 March 2010

Longest run EVER!

This weekend the only date in my diary was with a 15-mile run. After just about completeing a too-fast 14 miler last week, I knew I needed to keep the pace slow, and thought that would help me finish comfortably.

I set off in the sun with just my ipod to accompany me for the first 6 miles. I headed for the Forth Road Bridge, which I usually love running over because of the beautiful views and the open space. However, today it was extremely windy, and I found the 3 miles across and back really tough. When I got off the bridge, I had to stop for a slurp of lucozade sport, and to re-do my ponytail which was clinging onto my head for dear life in the howling wind.

After almost 6 miles, I met my running partner (and now cheerleader and marathon coach) Ianthe, to join me for the rest of the run. We headed towards the nearby country estate for some off-road running. I was already struggling to get up the steepest hills. Well I just felt knackered, and if it hadn't been for Ianthe, I would probably have started walking at around 11 miles. She kept up the encouragement though, and that, along with some vague feeling of pride, forced me to keep going. By this point, our pace was very...very......sloooww.......indeeeeed.

When I was ready to lay down and die at 12 miles (which I had reached 10 mins slower than last week), Ianthe reminded me that only 3 miles to go was nothing. Good point. So I dug in, and tottered up yet another hill. Luckily there were lots of traffic lights on this bit, and how I prayed each time for a little red man so I could stop for a few seconds!

On the last stretch I was sooo tired, but again Ianthe helped me keep plodding on. Finally my Garmin ticked over to 15.00 miles, so I immediately stopped to walk the 100 metres or so home. What a relief!

When I got in, I felt quite queasy. I'd only drunk lucozade on the run, and I was desperate for some water. After a while, I felt well enough to attempt a couple of jaffa cakes.

So it was a bit disheartening really, and left me questioning whether I'll ever be able to run 26 miles, let alone in 8 weeks! The only excuse I can come up with is a couple of bad nights' sleep (see previous post).

Still, onwards and upwards - next weekend is scheduled for 16-17 miles. Help!!!!

Friday 26 March 2010

Morning run - FAIL.

I decided not to go for my planned 3-mile run this morning. This decision was influenced by four main factors:
1. Calf was still sore after Weds night's run.
2. Had a fitful night's sleep last night after Emma woke up in a bad mood at 2am.
3. I've planned a long run for Saturday rather than Sunday this weekend.
4. It was windy and rainy.

Yes I am a wimp. But I like to think the extra day off will do more good than harm overall.

This photo was taken this afternoon, but it represents how awake she was at 2am.

Wednesday 24 March 2010

Shiny New Shoes!

Having spent a load of money on board games recently, Pete said that I should consider spending some money on my obsession too. Not about to miss an opportunity like that, Emma and I dropped Robbie at nursery this monring, and zipped off to Edinburgh. I decided to try Run4It because 1. They do a treadmill gait analysis; and 2. membership of Jog Scotland gets 10% discount!

Anyway, the gait analysis just told me the same as the last one, and something that is obvious to anyone who knows me - I'm completely normal. Bo-ring.

I thought I'd stick with my ASICS, so I've supplemented my current Cumulus 10s with a pair of Nimbus 11s! I mainly chose them because they were the most comfortable, and was only a little bit influenced by the fact that they are silver and purple!! Swoon!

Can't wait to try them, but as rain is forecast for tonight's run, I think I'll keep the old ones on for now. The plan is to use both pairs of shoes in training, then wear the new ones for the marathon itself.

We're supposed to be doing intervals at Jog Scotland tonight, which I usually really enjoy, but I'll still be taking it easy, and seeing how my silly stiff calf gets on. Hmph.

Monday 22 March 2010

Physio-whizzio let's get busyo

Today I finally had my free appointment with an NHS physiotherapist, only 4 1/2 weeks after I actually needed it! Of course in the meantime, I've been handing over huge wads of cash to see a private physio, because I didn't fancy sitting on the sofa brooding for a month.

I've had this pain in my calf that started as a niggle, but grew to the stage where I was limping whenever I walked anywhere. The private physio has massaged it a lot and given me a set of stretches to do, and it's been much better. However, whenever I do a fast run or a hill session, it comes back with a vengeance.

After yesterday's 14-miler, I felt fine all day, but woke up this morning with a very sore calf and shin. I stuck Emma in the pushchair with a cup of milk and a book ('That's not my kitten' - a favourite) and we went to see physio number 2.

She did all the same sort of tests as private-physio, and concluded that indeed she too doesn't know what it is. Anyway, the muscle was apparently fine, and she thought it could be a nerve, maybe the sciatic nerve (an old nemesis of mine).

I told her I'd been doing a load of stretches (as prescribed by private-physio) - 30 seconds x 5 repetitions a day. But she told me that 'latest research indicates', that I should do 15 seconds x 15 reps 3 times a day! I mean really! 'Sorry there's no dinner today kids, I just didn't have time, what with all the stretching'!

Still, it's nice to have Pete and the kids back home after their weekend away, even though they're all shattered and Emma's full of cold and cough. The kids find my stretches highly amusing, and try to crawl through my legs at all opportunities.

Sunday 21 March 2010

9 Weeks to the marathon

Today is Sunday, so it's Long Run Day. I decided to join my Jog Scotland group this morning - usually their 8am start is enough to put me off, but as I have the place to myself, I got a reasonable night's sleep and set the alarm for 6.30am, so I could fit in breakfast.

I had thought I would be running with the slower group, but found myself running alongside someone who is considerably faster than me. Eek! At about 3 miles, I realised what a fast pace we were doing - around 8.45 min/mile compared to my usual 9.50-ish for a long run. So I told her to go on without me. However, she refused, which was lucky, as I would have got totally lost on my own.

We went towards Edinburgh, then around the back of the airport, often on quite busy main roads, so it wasn't the most scenic run.

Anyway, by about 6 miles I was a bit concerned that I wa
s about to burn out, so I proposed slowing down again. We did a bit, but you know how it is when you're with a better runner, and you don't want to slow them down? I really hate feeling that I'm holding someone back.

So we kept up a decent pace, although after a HORRIBLE hill at Kirkliston, we slowed down a fair bit. Then I remembered a gel sweetie in my pocket! I thought I'd better try one of these mysterious running aids before the marathon. They help you keep going for ages with a boost of energy like magic! Hmm - supposedly lemon, but not exactly tasty. Swigged some water, and waited for the hit of energy to come... woo, amazing my legs feel like lead. Oh well, maybe I'll take 2 next time.

We plodded on, and as we got to 13 miles, I really was very tired. The plan had been about 13.2 miles, but I'd had the brilliant idea of running to the start from my house, which is about 0.8 of a mile. As I hobbled towards the station car park, I looked at my trusty Garmin - 14 miles!! Awesome!

I had planned to walk/jog home as a cooldown, but Thank God I was offered a lift. I collapsed in the car, completely cream-crackered.

Got home, drank lucozade, stretched, then put my legs up on the sofa with a cup of tea and a flapjack in my hand and a bag of frozen peas on my leg. Watched Sunday morning tv (i.e. cooking) for about 30 mins, then
had a long hot bath. Then it was straight on with the gloriously sexy compression socks. Only time will tell how well my calf has held up, i.e. if I can't get out of bed in the morning, I've overdone it.

Hooray for my longest run ever, and being almost on track with my marathon training schedule!

Friday 19 March 2010

First Post

Here I find myself home alone for the first time I can remember since we had children, so what better time to indulge myself in my own blog.

Pete has taken the kids to his sister's in Manchester for the weekend, and I'm torn between loving the peace and quiet, and missing them like crazy.

I'm just over 9 weeks away from my first ever marathon, and I've only run up to 11 miles so far. I've been struggling with calf pain, which has slowed down the training, and I've been feeling it since a very slow 3 miles this morning. However, I've got just enough time to fit the miles in before 23rd May, as long as the calf pain doesn't get any worse...