Festive Fat Felling

It sounds far more adventurous than calling it weight watching, doesn’t it? I’m Festive Fat Felling!

Since last writing I’ve really stuck to my calorie reduced living. I’m not dieting as such; all I do is note down the calories in what I eat, try to stay around 1200 calories a day and drink plenty of water. Sometimes I’m just over and most times I’m just under. I’m still eating platefuls of delicious food and drinking my beloved gin and, most importantly, I don’t feel as if I’m dieting. For instance, tonight I’m having an Indian takeaway meal and I have plenty of calories left in the bank for a gin or two!

And I’m losing weight! So far I’ve lost 8lbs or half a stone in 13 days. I should know how much that is in kilos, but I really don’t care. I’m an imperial/metric crossover kid, still old enough to remember doing imperial maths at school and still young enough to remember being shown a 50p coin and gasping at its alien form. Some things I do in imperial measure and others in metric. It’s probably annoying but, again, I don’t care.

weightloss

I’m back at work and I have to admit that the three weeks I took off at Christmas have given me a false sense of wellbeing. When I do next to nothing I feel great. I’ve been back at work a week and I’m knackered. Not just sore, but very weary. I’m getting worn out by the constant pain and there is nothing I can do about it. I take the pills I’m prescribed and have a couple of (allowed, medically and dietary) G&Ts a night and then I try and get a night’s sleep. Those of you who have endured long term chronic pain will understand that there is no position of comfort for any length of time, whether it’s standing, sitting or lying. I’ve taken to sleeping with a pillow under my knees to try and take the pressure off my back. I can’t sleep on my left side because I still have bursitis and sleeping on my front hurts my back. So I try to move between lying on my back and lying on my right side as gently as I can. It hurts whatever I do so I rarely have a really good night’s sleep and that adds to my tiredness. Something else for me to moan about!

I’m really pleased, though, with my weight loss. I’ve said that I’ll try to lose a further 30lbs, with my goal being me being even lighter than I was when all this started. I might not achieve that and, to be honest, if I could just get back to my pre-injury weight, I’d be happy. Another stone would do that, so it’s not much to ask of myself and it would probably help with  my recovery post-surgery.

I’ve no news on that front. My doctor suggested a four month wait from referral, which takes me to April time. Whether that’s to meet the neurosurgeon and discuss options or not, I don’t know. I’ve scheduled a regular doctors appointment to keep on top of pain management and developments, which is helping me feel a little more in control.

Again, if anyone wants to befriend me on MyFitnessPal, I’m Paintergirl21. I’ve amassed a few very supportive contacts already from all over the world. We support each other’s achievements and give advice when its asked for.

And, as runners, we all know about motivation…

motivational-quotes-for-weight-loss-1

 

 

It’s OK, I’ve found the ‘CTRL’ button!

control1

I don’t often feel quite as in control of my running as I did yesterday. Don’t ask me why yesterday was any different from any other day. Maybe it was the weather? Maybe it was what I was wearing? Maybe it was what I’d chosen to carry? Maybe it was the route? I don’t know, but I felt ‘at ease’.

I had my last long run before my next race to complete, 14 miles. I’ve run further, so 14 miles was just 14 miles – I wasn’t perturbed by the distance. I decided to run an easy route  (it was a breezy day, I didn’t need to push myself over hills as well) and, after some experimentation, I had settled on a run/walk ratio of 2.5 minutes to 1. It was going to be a steady run building up endurance, not a race to the finish. That can wait for a couple of weeks!

The weather was perfect for a long run. It was, as I’ve said, a bit breezy, but as the wind was blowing on my face for the first seven miles I had the reassurance of knowing that on the way back it would be pushing me home. The temperature was also cooler than of late with the sun was just occasionally peeking through heavy clouds. Spot on long run weather. This would be the first long run I’ve managed to do in a oner for ages.

I had decided to ditch the chia gels I still have in the cupboard and look for something else. I left it late and ended up at Holland and Barrett just before they closed on Sunday afternoon. I chose citrus High 5 Energy Gels which I carried in the big side pockets of my new Ron Hill trail vest.  I also tool my Camelbak with 750ml of water and two High 5 Zero tablets. I had my Garmin…oh, and I wore my iPhone on my arm. I’m starting to feel a bit weighed down, I must admit! I bet if I ditched the lot I could run faster!

I tried not to pay too much attention to my pace, but instead just focus on the beat of my music and try and settle into a good rhythm. I didn’t want to try and run at my race pace and if I look too closely at my Garmin I start to speed up and this affects how I finish. I needed to start steady and finish strong. I looked only at the distance I’d run, just so that I knew when to turn home. I was, however, bang on pace and when Jeff Galloway said “You’re half way” I really was.

I took my gels (perfectly placed in my side pockets – easy to grab, no zips getting stuck!) at 4, 8 and 12 miles. They were more liquid than others I’ve tried, which made them easy to take. I just used them instead of water and ended up with 500ml left in my Camelbak when I finished. I’ll put less in next time. They were also very easy to open.

Until now I hadn’t looked at my Garmin data. My pace was fairly consistent throughout, although my first mile was predictably faster! I just can’t help myself! I find this all very reassuring; I felt good as I ran. I wasn’t slowing up and I wasn’t speeding up – not too much anyway. My running pace was 10 min/mile pace which, of course, was brought down by the walking intervals. It was an easy pace and I can see myself either being able to up that slightly in a race or lengthen the run. Running for an extra 30 seconds at that pace should be achievable.

I just beat the torrential rain we endured yesterday afternoon, it hit as I put the key in the door. I have a feeling I was being looked after.

After running I stretched out, made myself a lovely plate of scrambled (free range) duck eggs and toast and ran a very hot bath. I spent the rest of the afternoon chilling out with the dog, who appreciated the fact that I was stationary for longer than a few minutes, and icing my Achilles which had been a bit sore when I was running. Today I don’t feel as if I ran 14 miles yesterday, so something is definitely right!

What I’ve learned from this run is that I need to worry less about my pace and just keep it consistent. I can speed up from the half way point if I feel like it. I now have clothes and equipment which I feel comfortable in and which I’ll set aside for Fleetwood in two weeks. My only issue (and it’s a small one) is that my armband is rubbing, causing a burn mark. I was looking yesterday at something I can wear underneath it as a barrier, rather than spend more money on another armband. Maybe just some BodyGlide would do the trick.

So, in the meantime I must…

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Running Long and Tapering Down

Today saw my last long run of this training programme. After today I’m on the taper.  And, to my relief, I’m feeling…

G-R-R-R-E-A-T!

Tony03

The weather forecast for today was dismal, so imagine my surprise to see sunshine and blue skies this morning. The weather gods were obviously smiling, so, after a breakfast of porridge, bananas and honey and having done my email duties for the morning, I set off. I had decided to run a tougher route than just along the fairly flat shore road. It’s my 4 mile loop which, if run again, becomes a 5 mile loop. I know that doesn’t make any sense, but if you take into consideration that if I’m doing a 4 mile run I walk to warm up and cool down adding the extra distance. If I run right round it’s 5 miles. Honest it is.

The run starts with a first mile which is mainly uphill. I always find that tough when I start off; my legs aren’t properly warmed up and my calf muscles are still too tight. However, I soldier on. After that the route undulates with some good hills to climb and descend. It’s a good route and I prefer to run a loop than go there and back. The only issue with this route though is that it tends to flood and yesterday we had some pretty nasty rain. I was expecting the worse.

The worst bit wasn’t as bad as I had expected, although as this road is being used as a diversion route for a farm which is cut off at present thanks to roadworks, it has suffered a bit. The road was pretty broken up in parts, with massive holes on either side; I feel sorry for the folk who live round there. The holes, predictably, had filled up with mud and rainwater and with the increased farm traffic the sloppy mud was being distributed all over the road. It was unavoidable and my lovely Brooks trainers are no longer quite as lovely; they are drying as I type, in the hope that the dirt might brush off. We’ll see.

I had taken with me my 33 Shake chia seed gels and my Camelbak with ¾ of a litre of water with a High 5 Zero tablet in it. I had been just using water, but I felt that I needed an extra boost. The High 5 Zero tablets had been sent out by the Edinburgh Marathon Festival organizers with my number, so I felt duty bound to try them out and I liked them; not too juicy tasting, salty if anything, and gentle on my stomach. I was a bit concerned when I got home though to discover that I had almost all of my ¾ litre left – I’m not drinking enough. I need to watch this, especially if I’m racing in warmer weather.

I planned to take my gels at miles 4, 8 and 12 but after mile 8 I forgot and ended up taking it at mile 9 instead. In the end I just didn’t bother taking the third one – I was managing fine with what I’d taken. Maybe the drink was helping there. I like the chia seed gels, but they are a bugger to swallow in a hurry when you’re a bit out of breath. I always take them on my walk breaks, but I inevitably run out of time. If I’m honest this is putting me off them and I’m wondering if I can do anything about it. I might contact the makers and see what they suggest.

By mile 8 the forecast weather had arrived and it was throwing it down. I stopped to call my son at home as I’d left two machine loads of washing on the line and knew that it would be soaked again by the time I’d run the last of that loop home. I decided at that point to head home and complete the run on the treadmill. The wind had picked up and the rain was extremely heavy – it wasn’t worth slogging out another loop. I may be mad, but I’m not crazy!

Having set up Star Trek on the DVD player I set off to boldly go (again) and boldly went with the Voyager crew. I felt surprisingly good and even ended up increasing the pace in the last couple of kilometres.

With my 14 miles complete in about 2:39 I had a rushed lunch of scrambled eggs, toast and humous and a strawberry soya milkshake and a quicker shower before heading into town to do the weekly shop! As a result, I haven’t sat down much, which might explain why I’m feeling so good! I honestly don’t feel pained enough to have run 14 miles – maybe that will come tomorrow!

But I hope not!

So now the taper begins. I’m pleased to have run my last long run before the race – I’m looking forward to saving my legs a bit. I’ve got two 30 minute runs to do this week, then a 5 mile run next Monday and two final 30 minute runs and then it’s race day!

After last week’s podiatrist downer I have some good news. I went to see my chiropractor (he of the Vulcan death grip) and told him what the podiatrist had said. When I got to the part when I relayed that I’d been told basically to give up running he stopped me. “Don’t give up running,” he said “Running has given you so much. Strength, confidence, achievement – don’t give up!” It was what I needed to hear. All athletes get injured. I don’t have the financial backing that elites have, but I do have a very good chiropractor who listens to how I’m feeling and helps me. Sometimes I need to work through injuries and having his support, as well as Jeff Galloway’s running plans, help me do that.

After all, if a 14 mile run leaves me feeling like Tony the Tiger, I’d be daft to let that go!

 

 

Isotonic? Hypotonic? The mystery of sports drinks revealed. Maybe.

I pride myself on not being part of the herd and buying what everyone else does just because someone once said that it was good. I like to make up my own mind and that inevitably means doing a bit of research and buying cheap. My PT son had given me a recipe for isotonic juice, but sometimes I just want convenience so buying a pre-made drink is the way to go. But which one?

I rarely buy big brand names. Store named goods are usually just as good and often supplied by the same makers, so paying over the odds for a name isn’t my style. Today in Morrison’s Superstore they had their own isotonic drinks on sale at 50p for a 75ml bottle (a total bargain when compared to the likes of Lucozade Sport), but they also had their own brand hypotonic drinks. What’s the difference? It said nothing on the bottle and at a quick glance the only major difference seemed to be calories and carbs – the isotonic having more of both and salt – the hypotonic having 5% more.

When I got home I asked my PT son what the difference was and although his answer was good, I needed more definition so that I could decide if I’d wasted my money or if I’d got a bargain.

This is what I discovered.

First of all we need to drink to stop us from becoming dehydrated, that’s primary school stuff.  Sweating is the way in which the body maintains its core temperature but results in the loss of body fluid and electrolytes (minerals such as chloride, calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium). Unless we replace these lost fluids and electrolytes it will lead to dehydration and eventually circulatory collapse and heat stroke. Not the best scenario.

The next fact was a bit more scary. It takes very little dehydration to severely impair performance:

% body weight lost as sweat Physiological Effect
2% Impaired performance
4% Capacity for muscular work declines
5% Heat exhaustion
7% Hallucinations
10% Circulatory collapse and heat stroke 

So, basically, don’t mess with hydration!

Now, I could bore you silly with additional information about electrolytes and carbohydrates, but basically what you and I need to know is that as we exercise for longer periods we need to replace electrolytes and fluid lost in sweat and also rebuild some of the carbohydrates we are using up in the form of glucose which we have stored in our livers to power our run. Water is fine if we aren’t running far, but it won’t replace lost electrolytes or carbohydrates and it tends to bloat you up and suppress thirst.

So here’s the bit I was looking for, which drink is most suitable.

Isotonic – quickly replaces fluids lost by sweating and supplies a boost of carbohydrate. This drink is the choice for most athletes – middle and long distance running. Glucose is the body’s preferred source of energy therefore it may be appropriate to consume Isotonic drinks where the carbohydrate source is glucose in a concentration of 6% to 8%.

Hypotonic – quickly replaces fluids lost by sweating . Suitable for athletes who need fluid without the boost of carbohydrate.

Hypertonic – used to supplement daily carbohydrate intake normally after exercise to top up muscle glycogen stores. In ultra distance events high levels of energy are required and Hypertonic drinks can be taken during exercise to meet the energy requirements. If used during exercise Hypertonic drinks need to be used in conjunction with Isotonic drinks to replace fluids.

So basically my hypotonic drink is fine for short runs instead of water, if I wanted. I tend not to take a drink with me if I’m running less than 4 miles. Up to 6 and I tend to take just water, but I could take a hypotonic drink. If I’m running for up to two hours or more then I definitely need an isotonic drink. I would imagine that a hypertonic is roughly equivalent to taking a gel, which I’m not keen on using (sticky fingers, littering the route), but taking two drinks isn’t convenient, so I’m still happy taking my Dextro tablets at intervals alongside my isotonic drink.

Last thing, for those wanting to save some wonga, here are a few recipes:

Making your own!

Isotonic – 200ml of orange squash (concentrated orange), 1 litre of water and a pinch of salt (1g). Mix all the ingredients together and keep chilled

Hypotonic – 100ml of orange squash (concentrated orange), 1 litre of water and a pinch of salt (1g). Mix all the ingredients together and keep chilled.

Hypertonic – 400ml of orange squash (concentrated orange), 1 litre of water and a pinch of salt (1g). Mix all the ingredients together and keep chilled.

Now, to put this into context, I’m just about to set off on a 7 mile run. It’ll take me just over an hour, so I’m going to take the hypotonic juice with me. It’s not too hot, I won’t be running fast, so water with a bit of sugar in it should be adequate.

I hope!

Hot and Sticky

A few years back an acquaintance, who plays in a popular local band, gave us a CD of their latest album. One of the songs, entitled ‘Sticky Vicky’, was about a stripper who owns a nightclub in Benidorm, Spain which they used to play at during the summer season. After having just finished a 6 miler in 19ºC heat and 80% humidity, I know exactly how she felt. Ewwww.

I Googled 'hot stripper' and this what I got!
I Googled ‘hot stripper’ and this what I got!

I’m following my pal Jeff Galloway’s 10k app again. Not the improver plan, just the get it finished plan – well he calls it something else, but that’s basically what it is. Get it done. I’ve got it set to 10 min/mile pace (ha ha) and 4:1 run:walk ratios. Today was a 10 minute “jog” or warm up run, followed by 20 minutes of race pace running and a 10 minute “jog” or warm down run, or thereabouts. The route was going to be about 6 miles so I chose my favourite loop that takes me up away from the village, climbing steadily for a mile and a half before working up and down a series of small hills and then steady running pretty much to home, although there are a few gentle hills to test tired legs towards the end.

The hills weren’t really so much of an issue as the heat and humidity. It’s a lovely day for a walk, but a bit too muggy for running and I always find getting my breathing sorted out difficult on a muggy day. I took a couple of puffs on my inhaler before heading out, but it took a couple of miles not to still be fighting with it.

In fact that thought popped into my head as I headed out. I always find the start of any run a bit of a battle, as if my body is resisting it in every way and I have to rise above the battle in order to finish. As an asthmatic, the initial half a mile is scary. Within a few minutes you feel your chest tighten and you start to pant rather than breathe. It’s painful and your instinct is to stop and take a few minutes, but in reality you are better to slow your pace and concentrate on running. Eventually your breathing regulates and you’ve come through it. I often find trail running more intensely scary in this respect; it’s perhaps because my trail runs tend to be shorter and faster. I have to believe that I am not about to die.

Anyway, back to today’s run. I ran the first 10 minutes steadily, hitting the walk breaks on time and wasn’t tempted to stop any sooner, despite my initial breathing difficulties. The faster section came in as I rounded the first hill, which was great – the terrain is better for faster running with a combination of flats, uphills and downhills. It’s not fast, but it is testing and I think that’s a better indicator of how well I’m running than maybe heading down a flat road. I would rather put the work in on the training and hopefully reap the benefits in races. That’s the theory anyway!

The fatigue didn’t really set in until between miles 3 and 4 when the sun came out. Until then the sky had been cloudy and I’d taken my hat off to get a bit of wind in my hair and cool me down. When the sun appeared I had to replace my hat and get a bit of shelter, especially as my forehead caught the sun yesterday. I was drinking water from my Camelbak and hadn’t taken anything else. I figured that a good breakfast on top of all the carbs I had yesterday were fuel enough and water would do. The Camelbak allows me to sip small amounts, which is probably for the best. I’m sitting here now drinking pints of water and I’ll soon be as big as a barage balloon; I couldn’t do that on a run!

I ran on, not even looking at my watch – I had no idea what pace I was running. I just decided that I was running 6 miles and if I did that in an hour and a half I couldn’t care less! It was hot and sticky and I was trying to run 4 miles at 10 minute mile pace. At one point I thought it was raining, but in truth the sweat from my pony tail was getting flicked about and was landing on my hands, feeling like rain.

I was overpace by a long way. I realised this when Jeff started to do a count down when I still had a mile to do. It’s the first time in a long time that I’ve been behind pace, usually I’m ahead of it. This is the difference between me running at 10k pace and running at 13.1 mile pace! I am not a fast runner!

Mile 1 was completed in 10:55 – that’s my warm up pace supposedly.

Mile 2 was the start of race pace and was finished in 10:25.

Mile 3 : 10:38

Mile 4: I was starting to suffer – 11:08, it shows!

Mile 5: 11:36 I was, by now, on the slow down run.

I ran out of Jeffness by this point and was just running on my own at a slow pace just to clock up the miles.

Mile 5:93 : 11:26 Just glad to finish and walk home!

Overall I did 5:93 miles in a respectable 67 minutes. I’m OK with that because it was warm and it’s actually taken me until now to stop perspiring! Writing my blog before my shower means that I’ve cooled down enough to take it when I’m done!

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On another note, I started core exercises again, but I’m having to stop them. Within a couple of days my neck has started to show signs of strain and I think there is more to it than just bad posture. This last time I was very aware of my posture, but the pain this weekend has been quite bad. I even ended up at the Chinese health shop for a quick 10 minute neck and shoulder loosen massage on Saturday morning and spent Saturday night lying on a massage cushion. One of my vertebrae is so sore now I can hardly touch it! I’m putting ibuprofen gel on that and I’m researching core exercises for people with neck injuries as a way round the problem. I won’t let this stop me, so I need an alternative path. Googling core exercise for neck injury spouts up many links – I just need to work my round through them.

neck-pain-and-whiplash-pain-relief-accident-pain-car-accident-pain

 

Running Like a Girl

A few weeks ago I replied to a random tweet sent out by the editor of Women’s Running UK magazine, who asked if tweeters preferred long or short runs. In an infrequent moment of clarity I replied that, generally speaking, I preferred a longer run, but that sometimes I had to fit in what I could and that running should complement, not antagonise, my life. Christina emailed me asking me for my address, a photo and my age because my words of wisdom had just won me a copy of Alexandra Heminsley’s new book ‘Running Like a Girl’. I was suitably chuffed.

Chuffed until the magazine came out. For those of you yet to cross the 50 age barrier I can tell you that being 48 is a long way from being 49, which is even further from being 50. I am a happy 48 year old, soon to be 49, but not yet. Imagine then my horror at seeing these words accompanying my words of wisdom in the July issue: “Julie Hollis, 49”

49!

What I’d like you all to do is read 48 when you see that. Just until August.

So anyway, ‘Running Like a Girl’ duly plopped through my letterbox last week and, of course, I was too busy to start it. It was also a real book, something that I haven’t read for a while. I tend to download books onto my iPad these days and read them in bed without having to put my hubbie through the ordeal of trying to sleep with a light on. However, we were away for the weekend on a chill out, relax all you can holiday, so I took my paperback copy with me.

Having started it on Friday night, I finished it on Monday evening – almost unable to put it down. It’s not often that I gel with a book as much as I did this one, but I found myself laughing in agreement at some of the things Alexandra had put herself through in order to become “a runner”. I recognised myself in the woman who found all the excuses not to run, who had severe worries about not making it to a real toilet before she had to squat at the roadside and who beat herself up over finishing times of marathons she had run, when in reality she had run a marathon! Suddenly my blog appeared in front of me with someone else saying the things I’d said, someone else feeling the same things I had, that I still do. I realised that I was not alone at all, there were/are probably thousands of runners, not just women, feeling the same things.

I wouldn’t say that I’m suddenly inspired by what I’ve read. Entertained, completely. Reassured, without doubt. However, it’s almost as though I’ve been given permission to behave in a certain way, to feel the things I have and still to be a valid runner and I’m grateful for that. Alexandra has split the book into sections, firstly dealing with her own tentative steps into running which developed into the success of completing a marathon alone and a second motivating a friend. This was such a great read – you felt privy to information that a friend would divulge to another. At points I found myself laughing out loud and nodding my head in agreement. The arrogance of some running shoe sales people and their off-putting attitude struck a chord, sadly. The book then went on to trace the history of women’s competitive running, some of which I knew from reading magazines, but was a pleasant read nonetheless and it certainly made you think about how privileged we are to be able to enter races willy-nilly. The final section dealt with all those stupid questions we are too embarrassed to ask!

If you haven’t guessed, I can thoroughly recommend this as the Bridget Jones version of ‘Running with Kenyans’ or ‘What I Think about When I Run’. It is fun, informative and unputdownable, as my husband will so testify!

RUNNING LIKE A GIRL FRONT2
Click on the book to visit Amazon and buy it, download it – just read it!

Reaching Unknown Territory

When I started my training programme for the Rock and Roll Half Marathon I opted to go along the improver route, looking to better the time I managed at the Great North Run. It’s not been an easy route and there have been times that I’ve struggled with my fitness and my reasoning. This weekend I ran into unknown territory; I ran 15 miles.

15_miles_300

Previously my longest distance had been 14 miles, which is longer than most half marathon programmes takes you. The plans devised by Jeff Galloway makes sense to me because they ask you to run further than you will have to in a race. That gives you additional endurance and the security of knowing that, yes, I can easily run 13.1 miles because I have run further. I like that.

With the threat of unsettled weather hanging over me I wasn’t sure if to run on Sunday or Monday or even which route to choose. My local loop floods with just a small amount of rain and that we’d had slightly more than a small amount, this being Scotland. I’m not keen on running half way and turning back but 15 miles would put me in the centre of Dumfries and possibly running through traffic. I decided to run on Sunday (unless I got up on Sunday to torrential rain) and run along the coast road.

I woke on Sunday to snow.

Luckily it was short lived and by the time I headed out we were being treated to light rain. My main problem though wasn’t the weather; it was technology. I had charged my Garmin Forerunner 405 in the morning to 100%, but when I disconnected it from its charger it went flat immediately. It’s done this before, about a year ago, and I almost returned it to Garmin. By a combination of research, friend’s advice and fiddling with buttons I managed to fix the issue, one that had apparently been caused by the compass services being switched on by accident. It’s possible that I had left the GPS switched on and this had caused the present issue, I don’t know for sure. When I checked nothing appeared to be on that shouldn’t have been. Reluctantly I left the watch recharging and took just my iPhone.

Usually I only rely on my phone for the Jeff Galloway app (including the beat synced music) and I have always had enough battery to complete a long run. Yesterday I had to also rely on the app’s GPS signal. I wasn’t sure whether I would have enough battery to last the entire run. It was unsettling. Without my phone I had no structure and I need that. Sad as that may sound. I’m happy to run without technology when it doesn’t matter, but it did matter. I had no idea how far 7.5 miles was away from my home. I didn’t know where along the road I needed to turn back.

I set off running in a vest, gloves and long tights. I could see the incredulous looks of passing motorists, but I was comfortable. I heat up quickly, possibly because of the amount of body fat I still carry, but my hands and thighs stay colder than the rest of me.

I was fueling on my homemade isotonic juice (I made a mental note to include less salt next time – my pinches are massive!) and dextrose tablets every mile or so. Nothing else. I’d breakfasted on porridge with millet and linseed, banana and honey. I didn’t pay much attention, though, to carb-loading before hand, although I did have polenta the night before. I need to think more carefully about what I’m eating leading up to a long run.

By mile 4 I was running comfortably. Before that I felt every muscle as it stretched and creaked! By mile 4, however, my iPhone battery was down to less than 50%. Running the app, my music and the GPS was just too much for it. I carried on in the vain hope that my battery would last until I got to 7.5 miles so at least I’d know when to turn back. At mile 6 I rang my husband. My Garmin had charged to just under 40% so I asked him to zero his mileometre and bring the watch out to me.

By the time he reached me I’d run 7.8 miles according to my phone GPS. Armed with a dying iPhone and a reluctant Garmin, I set off towards home. In order to save battery on my phone I turned off the app; I wanted some battery life in case of emergency. Not long after setting off I heard my watch beeping – it wasn’t happy and managed 2.1 miles before dying. To be fair it spent a mile or two dying and resurrecting until it finally kicked the bucket.

I’d made it to mile 10, but without my app or my phone telling me when to walk and run I was probably running less and walking more than I should have. It probably sounds silly, but without the music spurring me on and regulating my pace I was probably running too fast and wearing myself out too quickly. I was a bit of a mess.

I started to do something that Jeff Galloway suggested in his in app tips. I chose a tree or a fence or a building in the distance, ran to that and then walked for a count of 60 before choosing a new focus. It helped a little.

I finished my 15 miles in around 2 hours 50 minutes. Without my Garmin or my iPhone and having not noted a start or a finish time I can’t be exactly sure.

1

After getting home I ate everything in the fridge! I started with a ready mixed soya milkshake, then I demolished some crackers and humous and finished with some Quorn chicken strips – basically what was close to hand. I had a very hot bath followed by several cups of hot tea. I was cold.

After several pints of restorative Guinness, I retired to bed, but not before covering my legs with BioFreeze Gel. It smells very strong, but it is a wonder gel. I used it after the Great North Run and it really helped to reduce any inflammation and aches. I’m still using free sachets from goodie bags, but I think that I need to buy some. Today I have no real pain, just a slight ache in my thighs.

I think I’ve fixed my Garmin. After resetting it and recharging it, I’m not letting the battery drain by running the stopwatch. So far it’s been going for 12 hours. Once it’s drained I’ll recharge it and hopefully that’ll be that.

Onwards and upwards!

 

Without killing myself…

After last week’s post you may be pleased to hear that I’ve backed off a bit and that I’m not being quite so hard on myself, for a change. Doing that 13 miles last Sunday in a half decent time, without hurting myself, has made me sit up and listen to my body. I am making progress. I don’t need to make myself ill. Even if I knock a few seconds off my last half time, that’s a PB. And I think I can manage that.

tired-runner1

So instead of half killing myself in training, I’ve turned it down a notch or two and I feel as if a massive weight has been lifted! All of a sudden I’m enjoying running again. I might feel as if I’m going a bit slowly, but I do have the option to speed up if I’m feeling good.

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Today was an interval day, with 14km of speed work to look forward to. Yay! (Don’t worry, I am joking!)

As I’m not near a track and the roads aren’t suited to intervals, I opted to run for almost two hours on the treadmill. That, people, is dedication. Or madness, you choose!

Runner treadmill ILLUS.jpg

In order to survive two hours on the treadmill I have my TV and a box set of DVDs set up in the cabin. I am happy to run with no music at all outside, happy to run with music for short treadmill runs, but for two hours of drudgery only TV will stave off the monotony I’m afraid! At the moment I’m half way through the Teachers (series 2) box set. I find that if I turn on the subtitles I can watch it without having to worry about ear phones or having the sound blasting out. I do have headphones on, but that’s so that I can listen to my coach Jeff Galloway’s dulcet tones.

Nice one, Jeff!
Nice one, Jeff!

And talking of the good man himself, Coach Jeff informed me that this morning I had not just intervals, but a mixture of running. I started off with a slow 10 minute run, followed this with four acceleration gliders (building up to race pace, holding for a few seconds and then reducing the pace whilst using the built up momentum to carry the speed) and then into ten lots of 800m intervals. As I had knocked the pace back a bit I wasn’t sure what speed the intervals were going to come in at and I was pleased to see them still at 11.3 kph. That’s a kilometre less per hour than I was doing, but looking at my overall training (i.e. THE BIG PICTURE) it’s not making that much difference. The difference it did make, however, was that I felt more comfortable. Yes, I was pushing myself, but not over the edge.

I finished with a 10 minute slow run and felt as if I’d done a good training session.

My nutrition was a bit lacking though; because  in my head I wasn’t running “a long run”, I only took an isotonic drink. I neglected to consider that I was still running 10 miles and that I should have been supplementing that with something else. At times I felt light headed and there were a couple of stumbles on the treadmill when I just forgot where I was. Next time I will have to remember to give myself plenty of fuel.

Next weekend I had planned to run the Kilomathon in Edinburgh, 13.1 km, but I’ve decided not to. The start is at 8:30 am and unless I stay over it would be too early a start for me to drive up. I can’t afford the time or the cost of a hotel to stay overnight, so it’s going to be scratched off the list. I have to be practical in terms of money, time and how races fit into my training and the Kilomathon doesn’t really rate highly in any of those terms. On Sunday I have 15 miles to run so after running a fast 13.1 km (because it’s a race and I couldn’t help myself!) I would then need to do an extra 11 km. It’s a shame, but maybe next year I can do this instead of other races.

Next year, maybe!
Next year, maybe!

So, here I am heading into week 11 of training! Wish me luck!!

Revealing All

The last words I said about using the treadmill were to my husband the other day when I said that running 10km on one was more than enough.

So today I ran 14.1 km.

It’s week 8, day 4 of the Improve Your Half Marathon plan that I’ve been following and it’s bloody hard work, let me tell you! Improving apparently means working harder. I wasn’t expecting that. It involves running faster intervals and counting your steps and learning how to coast. I wasn’t expecting any of this. Let’s just hope that it works, because it’s bloody hard work. Did I say that already?

My training programme looks like this:

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(taken from http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/half_marathon.html)

I’ve asked it to give me 10 minute pace which should give me  2:17 over 13.1 miles. We’ll see. As it is I do seem to be keeping to the pace on longer runs (not 10 min/mile pace yet though – the long runs are at 11 min/mile pace), but I admit that I find the raised pace in training sessions really tough.

I mentioned in my last post that my PT son had concocted an isotonic sports drink for me.

[Isotonic – quickly replaces fluids lost by sweating and supplies a boost of carbohydrate. This drink is the choice for most athletes – middle and long distance running or team sports. Glucose is the body’s preferred source of energy therefore it may be appropriate to consume Isotonic drinks where the carbohydrate source is glucose in a concentration of 6% to 8% – e.g. High Five, SiS Go, Boots Isotonic, Lucozade Sport. Taken from www.brianmac.co.uk/drinks.htm]

The recipe Ben used was:

  • 2 parts water to 1 part fruit juice (he used pure orange juice from concentrate)
  • pinch of salt

It tastes fine and, if it does the job, is a lot cheaper than shop bought drinks. You can follow Ben on Twitter @BenC106 He’s talking about starting his own blog on fitness, so watch this space.

On being quiet and just getting on with it.

I take my blog writing style from the fictional Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City fame. Carrie, I feel, had that way of approaching subjects that are only important to a few select individuals and making them everyone’s latest big issue. My blog is read by few, probably appreciated by less, but is important, I hope, to one or two select individuals.

So, what is my latest big issue?

Not much, to be honest. I find myself blogging less about what I’m doing, even forgetting to blog about long runs, as the runs get longer and my free time lessens. As the title implies, I’m just running, getting the job done and getting on with life. And, sometimes, that’s all we can do.

(See, now that was a Carrie style metaphor for life. I can hear your impressed applause from here!)

I’m up to 11 miles now in my long run status in training for the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Edinburgh at the end of my Easter holidays. I’m really looking forward to the whole Rock and Roll weekend. Hubbie and I have booked our wobble box (the caravan) into a good camp site nearby and I’m excitedly reading about the  many bands we will be listening both on the way round and in the after race concert at Holyrood. I will even attend an expo, my first proper expo! Even the Great North Run last year didn’t have an expo to attend, just a few races with one or two celebrities at the quayside. I can get my photo taken looking excited prior to the event – how cool. How very American! I’m secretly very envious of my US running pals who have fabulous pre-race, in-race and post-race photos. I get a pic taken in the caravan of what I looked like before and then a few blurry blob in-race photos to share. It’s terribly sad.

Last weekend I ran my 11 miles on the shore road. I was going to do two loops of my 5 mile circuit, but the weather has been so wet I doubted that the loop would be puddle free and, as regular readers, you will remember that a Scottish puddle is the equivalent of a pond elsewhere. Ducks swim on them. Dolphins have been spotted.

The weather was lovely, total running perfection. Calm, blue skies, sunshine and chilly. I went out fueled by porridge and banana and took an isotonic drink and a handful of dextrose tablets. I had downloaded a new running album, all rock songs, and was eager to see how they sounded. Although the original artists weren’t serenading me, it certainly wasn’t karaoke central. I was pleased by how well the songs fitted my pace and how good they sounded. If you want to download a bargain this is it: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/worlds-greatest-rock-runnning/id585790865

I ran fairly smoothly, although as usual it took me a few miles to feel comfortable. It’s as if I have a brief respite between feeling sluggish and then feeling knackered and the miles just whizz by, briefly. I was running at just under 11 min mile pace. I find running at below race pace tough. I’m meant to be building up my speed and seeing 11 min/miles on my Garmin really gets to me! I know that’s the point, long runs should be easy and are there to build up endurance and it shouldn’t frustrate me, but I’m just too competitive, so it does.

This week I’ve struggled with feeling “right”. I didn’t feel that my long run was particularly stressful. I recovered very quickly. I don’t seem to ache as maybe I should after a long run. I am tired, but I get no real muscle ache, just a bit of initial stiffness if I’ve been sitting for a while. Maybe I’m lucky like that or maybe the run:walk philosophy is keeping me injury free, I don’t know. Whatever the answer is, I’m not changing anything. It works for me. Anyway, what should have been an interval session on Wednesday got swopped for a recovery run and a short one at that. I’m meant to do two 45 minute runs in the week, a walk on Saturday and my weekend run. On Wednesday I could hardly put one foot in front of the other and ended up doing a measly 30 minutes and being really annoyed with myself. On Friday I knew that I was due for a straight 45 minutes run at above race pace and I knew I wasn’t ready for that either. I adjusted the speed (it’s easy done on the Jeff Galloway Half Marathon app) and this is what I heard:

“OK, I’m pleased that you are listening to your body. Let’s lower the pace.”

Isn’t that what we all need to hear sometimes? I actually did 30 minutes at 10.3 kph and the last 15 minutes at 11.3 kph, adjusting the pace on the hoof. And I felt good.

Today I have 800m intervals to do. I was toying with heading to a local track and doing them there, but there is a race on. So, unfortunately it’s an treadmill day. I say unfortunately because the weather is perfect for a long run and it would be great to get out there. If it stays like this I’m tempted to do a short recovery run tomorrow.

I will be fueled today by porridge and banana (I’m typing this whilst waiting for it to “land”) and a sports drink made by my son who has been studying sports nutrition this week as part of his B.Tech course. He has made a cheap and nutritionally equivalent sports drink out of orange juice, lemon juice and salt. It tastes fine and lacks added sugar that shop bought ones have. I hope that it works; I have a gallon of orange juice in my fridge. Maybe I should worry more about being a guinea pig. Last night I dined out prior to a concert on Beans in Tomato Sauce (which, I know, sounds like a can has been opened, but was actually very nice) served with boiled potatoes, green beans and carrots. I won’t divulge the starter and dessert. That’ll just spoil the picture you have of my carb and protein high dinner. Instead I will leave you with a video of the band we saw last night. The world’s greatest rock and roll ba-ha-ha-hand.