Post Injury Workouts & Other Stuff

It’s been a tough week. So much running not accomplished but oh so much cycling, turbo training and cross training done that I REALLY needed to get out and run this weekend.

Note to anyone who is injured. Make sure you have something you can do at home that’s low impact that will get you through the torture that is not running. This week I have been mostly cycling, turbo training and cross training. I HATE the cross trainer with a new vengeance! I’m never getting rid of it though. It’s perfect for recovery training. It’s a magnetic resistance cross trainer so there’s no belt to tighten up. It’s just right, I still hate it though!!

So why am I not running? Somehow, even I’m still not sure how, I’ve managed to tear my calf muscle. The possible culprit could be a medium sized greyhound running through my legs, yes through!!! Yes she’s our dog and yes we were playing, oh well :-) I didn’t realise I had injured my calf at all. I was getting odd cramping and pin prick pain in the muscle. This has now been resolved and feels like it’s healed well. But…… There’s always a but!! The muscles and tendons that were trying to protect this muscle are now feeling damaged. So my left calf/shin/foot feels like it’s been broken. I know all this bruising and pain will eventually resolve itself but (there’s that but again!!) I shouldn’t really be running with all this injury going on.

While I wasn’t running I was checking and rechecking my kit to make sure everything was still okay and found the toe part of my Brooks Ghost had collapsed. That explains the tender patch on my foot from lunchtime and weekend runs. 

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Replacing the tyres

Here’s my new Salomon x-scream. Slightly less heal than the Brooks but just the right amount of toe room and they feel lovely while I’m running or walking.

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This bizarre looking instrument of torture has helped with cramped/bruised muscle. I absolutely HATED this thing to begin with. I’m now using it every day to work out any knots in my legs. To begin with it was all pain, rolling out my muscles like a piece of pastry was not relaxing at all. Now? It’s like settling into that perfect sofa spot and snuggling down. Oh how things have changed this year!!

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One shocking thing I did this week. I sold my garmin 310xt. I sold it!! It’s been a great gadget. I’ve managed to keep it working throughout all the garmin connect/express updates fiasco. Using my phone to upload workouts rather than garmin express. Thing is, after being spoilt with the ease of use of my garmin 620 I longed for something similar. The obvious choice was the garmin 920xt but I really didn’t like it. It didn’t really offer more than the 310xt. Yes it had Bluetooth communication and the training functions but I already had access to the new training functions on my garmin 620. It just didn’t float my boat!! I was seriously considering Suunto, Yes!! Not garmin!! That is until I saw this………

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The Garmin Fenix 3. Pretty precioussssseesseesss!!!!! It does everything the 920xt does with a few extras to extend the battery life. Plus it looks like a watch and acts like one. Then I’m not walking around work looking like I’m about to do an impression of superman or spiderman by striping of my work clothes and running out of the office in skin tight Lycra!!! Yes I do have that little montage in my head every time I go for a lunchtime run hahaha!! 

It’s been a frustrating week for running. I have kept up the training using other means of cardio torture and nobly instruments of pleasure/torture!!

You’re still reading? Wow! Well done!
So what will I be up to next week? Next week I have plans…… Plans that involved cycling to work. That’s 14 miles! It doesn’t sound far but it’s about an hour to get to work I reckon. I’ll know more when I try it :-)

Okay, I’ll let you go now. Have a great week.
Hels

Training Week 16 – Blog Blackout

Where did a month go?  One minute its my birthday and the next I’m realising I haven’t bored anyone with my training blogging.  So are you sitting comfortably?  No?  Well get that cuppa and maybe a biscuit or two if you’ve been active today and I’ll update you with my training nonsense.

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away from Milton Keynes there lived a middle aged mum who had the most amazing idea.

“I know what I’ll do this year”  She chirped happily to herself whilst reading blogs and facebook posts one evening.  “A marathon is fun, 50 miles has been fun as well, so I think I’ll try 100 miles this year”  But wait – 100 miles is such a long way and this middle aged mum was not a fast ultra runner.  She was an ultra plodder.  Unfortunately this wouldn’t allow her to run most 100 mile events.  So after spotting that another (not so slow) ultra runner was entering a 100 mile event that had a fairly reasonable cutoff the middle aged mum got herself into training mode.

At first the training was purely down to internet research with very little background knowledge to running.  Then she got herself a coach and the training since then has been eye opening.

So much so that she forgot to blog about it and was far more focused on training well.

So there’s my story so far.  Not enough detail?  Seriously?  Okay then.  The last post was from week 11 wasn’t it.  So……..

Week 12 – Recovered well from Punchbowl marathon and got stuck into a week of Tues/Weds/Thurs runs and a weekend of parkrun + a run and a Sunday long run which I did with the local running club.

Week 13 – Rest week which still involved lots of running – I’m starting to get the difference now between rest and hard running weeks.  Tues/Weds/Frid running.  Saturday I was on my feet most of the day helping out at the Social Ultra Cotswold Way 50k.  Sunday was the Bath Half Marathon.  A very unexpected 2hrs 5mins of easy running.  I didn’t once feel over worked and usually I would have to push myself to get near that time.  I was very pleased especially with the insane crowding at the beginning of the half marathon.

Week 14 – Another rest week of easy running.  Rest weeks have running but far less instensive workouts.  I’m learning.  Slowly!  Sunday I had a fabulous time doing the Chiltern Kanter with Claire and Emma to begin with and then Carolyn and Bonnie at some point near the beginning.  I had the route all planned out even though it was a point to point map reading afair.  Weather was perfect for a run in the local hilly countryside.

Week 15 – High intesity workouts Tues/Thurs and longer easy running on Weds.  Although having a greyhound smash into your shins can cause muscle damage I found.  This wasn’t noticed until much later in the week after I ran the Larmer Tree Marathon in record time for me considering how hilly/muddy it was.

Week 16 – Was intended to be a fairly easy week training wise due to some pain in my shin/calf muscle.  Monday I was giving the muscle intense massage.  Tuesday it was driving me crazy because I could run but it would feel like needles in my calf muscle.  Booked myself in to see the physiotherapist and there’s a small tear in the muscle.  Not from running I might add.  I hadn’t realised having a greyhound use me as stopping post would tear muscle.  I just thought I had some bruised bone issues.  No running for a few days to let the muscle heal a bit.  Then stretches and strength training.  Instead of running I switched my workouts to the turbo trainer.  Picture the scene – Lycra clad middle aged woman wearing headphones linked to a phone that’s propped on a music stand in front of a road bike huffing and puffing away whilst watching the Green Latern.  Yeah!  I must be the only one that kinda likes that film…… Moving on…….

So there you have it.  Not much to brag about.  Lots of running, lots of training.

One thing I have noticed recently.  My average pace is increasing.  Ever so slowly I’m becoming faster.  I am thoroughly enjoying the training programme and I’ve noticed I’ve become a much stronger, more resiliant runner.  Mile 22 on the Larmer Tree Marathon Love Station I felt as fresh as a daisy.

Also – I’ve purchased a foam roller and a massage stick.  The most hateful impliments of self massage ever!!!!  I LOVE THEM.  I am completely contradicting myself at every turn this year.  Next I’ll be eating Marmite on toast!!!! BLERGH!!

Have a fun weekend

Hels

;-)

Training – Week 11 – ROUGH!

Oh dear! Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!!
Last week’s training should have been so much more but I was thoroughly and utterly drained. Not by overdoing it, I wish!! After managing to escape the raking cough, snotty nose and fevered shivering I fell ill with……. Erm…… A horrible never ending headache that left me so drained and tense that I tied my back into knots which needed the physio to unwind!! Well, I didn’t know it was my back. The pain was in my hip but after the visit to the physio I’m working on keeping those tension knots at bay!! I tried to keep up the running but just couldn’t push myself.
Thankfully by Friday I was feeling much better and I was looking forward to Saturdays attempt at Parkrun plus easy run. So much so that I ended up arriving at Willen Lake early. An hour early! I had a choice, sit in the car and cry – depression is just plain mean sometimes!! – or run the Parkrun route in reverse at a very easy pace to arrive at the start to then race it.  It wasn’t in the plan but I wasn’t about to sit and let bad thoughts eat at me until 9am!! 
I’m pleased to say that although the easy reverse Parkrun felt like I was running through treacle I was feeling alive and great for the Parkrun itself. Weird considering I had run so badly to the start! I felt so much better for the rest of the day. The plan for Sunday 3 hours easy was looking like fun. I didn’t want to run the roads. I needed to get lost on some trails. I hadn’t been feeling too good emotionally and trail running just brings out the wonder in the world.
Again I was up early so I got myself out the door with my trail kit, etrex and first aid kit – you never know when you might need to use one!! It was great fun, I finally found some paths I had been looking for, got thoroughly muddy, followed by inquisitive sheep, found more paths I want to investigate next time and felt strong throughout the adventure. I can’t call it a run because I was run/walking/taking pictures/etrex map reading and enjoying the creepy scenery. The only focus was the last 25-30 minutes where I was running home from Rushmere park.
Enjoy the pictures ;-)

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Inquisitive sheep

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Creepy fog filled fields

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Trails to……??

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This trail is covered in nettles during the summer months

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Creepy dead tree

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No land marks at all!

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Middle of nowhere and I find the mystery footpath that I’ve been searching for!

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The mystery footpath looks like muddy fun ;-)

Training – Week 10 – Training Pro Badge

I can’t quite believe I’m in week 10 of training.  Do I get a Training Pro badge?  No?  Sigh…..  This weeks plan looks good and I’m starting to think I’m rather enjoying having a plan set out.  I’m feeling a tad tired but that would be down to full on work and running around organising birthday treats rather than anything else.  The training has been a welcome chill out time to all the madness!

So last weeks “rest” week was easy.  I’ll admit it.  I took everything at a chill out pace and still managed some good times.  Plus I did some turbo trainer work to stabilise my right hip/knee which is starting to play up with the extra mileage.  What I thought was going to be tiring and tough was very manageable once I made sure I kept to the plan.

The plan – That’s the thing that has been bugging me.  I’ve tried to set myself targets and even with the best intentions I’ve let myself down.  For some reason I’m super/ultra/obsessively keeping to “The Plan” for fear of losing valuable training.  It feels nuts!  However – I’m managing to keep up with the plan.  Somehow!!  So it seems that my training wasn’t so much lacking in intensity or quality it was down to me not sticking to a plan.  If that ramble makes sense to anyone can they explain it to me as well?

So – training this week is bigger and better.  Starting the week tired from family/work life is not such a good idea but somehow I’m still going.  Core work is done each day I’m running and those lovely, wonderful, yummy rest days are now definitely REST days.  The Blerch LOVES rest days.  Hahahaha!!

I’ll leave you with a picture of my daughters birthday cake.  MASSIVE thank you to the lovely, wonderful lady who made this for her.  My daughter utterly loves it!  Best birthday cake EVER!!! Her words not mine haha! But yes, it really is a fabulous cake.

Have a great week everyone.

Hels

Daughters birthday cake

Daughters birthday cake

Virtual Run to………. Madrid

Yes.  Virtual.  Choose the location.  Map out where I went daily and hopefully by the end of the year I will virtually run to Madrid.  No camping, no B&B’s, no travel costs, no requirement to find virtual loos on route.  Comfort of my own bed every night, home made meals, nights with the husband and kids.  What’s not to like about this idea?

Why Madrid?  My husbands choice.  In fact he’s quite excited about mapping out where I’m going to go.  He’s so excited that he was researching the route last night and asking how many miles I do each week.  He knows I love running and knows it chills me out but this response was rather endearing.

Anyhoo…..enough of that slushy nonsense.  This is a running blog!!

Here’s the initial route.  The route may change, I may go further than the planned 1,395 miles to Madrid by New Years Eve 2015.

Enjoy ;-)

Training – Week 9 Easy Does It!!

So many miles covered in January! Wow!

Last week was a toughie but thoroughly enjoyable – well, enjoyable until the wheels utterly fell off Saturday morning!!

Throughout the week I accomplished all the training runs expected.  I was very happy with what I’d done and apart from a muscle twinge around my right hip I was all set for the weekend.  By Saturday morning I was thoroughly looking forward to a good session at MK Parkrun and thought the 30 minutes afterwards would be super easy.  The session for Sunday I was planning to go early either along the LFR watchless 10 route before anyone was there or along the Leighton Tough 10 route with an adjustment to the end to accommodate for pushing myself in the last 30 minutes.

MK Parkrun was awesome – I warmed up before the run.  Ran through the course in my head where I would push myself and where I would ease off to recover.  I was in race mode, fixated on getting the maximum out of that 5k.  Heart hammering before we even set off.  I kept the panic under control, boiling away at the surface but using the adrenalin instead of closing down.  The course was incredibly icey and I kept to the grass verges as much as I could to avoid the numerous black ice patches catching other runners.  The run was a push but I kept my form and I was very pleased with the result for such a slippery run.  27:08 – not bad!!

A few minutes waiting to get the barcode scanned and then 30 minutes easy.  Oh dear!  I got myself ready to run, checked the watch was ready, started at a gentle run and then BAM! Gut wrenching queasiness and the world on a roundabout as I suddenly felt utterly drunk!  I’m amazed I didn’t smash into the pavement face first.  I usually feel like this along with a racing heartbeat and my chest being gripped by an invisible force not letting me breath when I’m having a panic attack!  Not quite knowing what the hell was going on – I took a knee….

http://afterearth.wikia.com/wiki/User:NewMovies/Take_a_Knee

Yeah! Strange thing to do but I didn’t want to sit down or lean on something.  After a few minutes things started feeling okay and I tried again to set off for a run again.  To begin with I had legs of lead, stomach about to turn itself inside out and my lungs just didn’t want to work for the first five minutes.  Then everything was okay.  Back to feeling good and running was easy.  Utterly weird moment!!  This is going to make next weeks “Race” mood slightly more interesting.  I just know I’m going to hold back knowing that the remainder of the panic attack is waiting for me at the finish! Blergh!

Then Sunday – Oh dear!  No early start due to my insides not liking anything I’d eaten since Friday.  I waited to make sure there was no need for any outdoor toilet breaks before venturing out.  Good grief this is embarrassing but honest.  Thankfully I ran with my backpack which had just the right amount of water and shot blocs in it for a long run.  Both of which I used fully!  I decided on the hilly Tough 10 start to my run and was very surprised to reach Great Brickhill with ease.  At that point I didn’t feel tired at all.  It was refreshing and fabulous.  Then the big descent to the canal for the rest of the run – erm…. note to self.  Flat is worse than hills!  Hills are my friend.  Hills are like interval sessions with occasional rests.  Flat HURTS!!

http://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/682119142

Elevation profile for Sundays run

Elevation profile for Sundays run

I did – just about – manage the increased pace in the last 30 minutes but wow that was tough.

So this week is an easier week, a recovery week.  However, I’m still running Tues/Weds/Thurs/Sat/Sun though?  Errrrrr!!  Rest = easy running.  Erm……. Okay then.  I think!?!  Maybe this is where I’ve been going wrong when it comes to training, thinking a rest week is complete rest.  The Blerch will not be happy with that! Hahahaha!! Bring it ON!!!!!!!

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/running

To everyone else out there training – Keep up the good work ;-)

Hels

Training Continues – Week 8

Yes – it really has been 8 weeks.  Christmas was a bit of a mess for training because the running was unfocussed and more for fun.  Which is never a bad thing – I really enjoy running lately.  I may not be super fast and I may walk a lot but I keep going.  That’s when I get to nosh on snacks or grab a picture of the views or just stand/sit and relish the noise of nature – complete silence, creepy rustling, bird song, freaky squeaky squirrels and wind through the trees.

Back to training – To begin with I was finding the structure a novel experience.  Not sure what results it would create.  It was a shock to the system but I was ready for this.  I want to get as much out of the training as possible and I’m taking each planned session seriously.  So is this seriously fun training?  Yes!!  I’m enjoying the challenge each session brings with it.  Its no longer the same route, same scenery, same run.  Its now – challenging route, sections to beat and new routes to plan because I’m getting faster haha!!

I’ve been given week 8 and it’s a tough one.  Nothing I’ve not done before, nothing supremely tough in there at all.  But there’s a lot of running time to be done this week.  Best make sure I’m all stocked up and well fed then.  This weeks mileage might break the 100 running miles for January for the first time for me.  Wow!  January 2014 = 63 miles, January 2013 = 33 miles, January 2012 = 14 miles, January 2011 = 12 miles – You get the picture.  January is usually a very quiet month for me but this year I’ve got my jiggly arse into gear and worked.  This is no “New Me 2015″ – this is “I Want This 2015″.

Hope everyone elses January is just as enjoyable.

Plus, when I get a few minutes I’ll update my gear page.  I’ve managed to grab a few bargains and add some new gear to my arsenal.  Some great, some good and some I still need to try.

Enjoy ;-)

Hels

100 miles 100 MILES ONE HUNDRED M I L E S!!

Driving 100 miles is a long time sat in a car! Cycling 100 miles can be thrilling, enjoyable and yup – tough! Running/walking 100 miles – there’s something about it that just doesn’t feel real. I know I need to get my brain around it somehow, even my mojo is cowering under the table giving me despairing looks!
I know this feeling though. I have had this feeling before. This is the exact same feeling I had planning my first 50 mile ultra. The marathon training felt normal – loads of people run marathons! But 50 miles! The training plans, kit, mental training for that distance was for super fit people and I did not class myself as super fit. But I did it, I enjoyed it, I enjoyed it so much that I went back and did more! 50 miles still feels like a bonkers distance to “enjoy” but I really do like pushing myself beyond what I think is possible. The element of stress involved in tackling a big distance has developed my own skills for handling my own personal demons. Each trail event is another opportunity to learn how to cope, to enjoy rather than fear, to see the challenge rather than a closed door.
100 miles will no doubt break me, it will eat me alive and turn me inside out. I have no illusions on how difficult it will be. I’m doing this for me, to push the boundaries, to enjoy and take part in a fantastic journey. I am responsible for my own journey and cannot blame anyone else but me for this endeavour.
So when it gets to August, when I’ve done all the training I can possibly do, I need to come back to this post and remind myself.
You’ve had that feeling before.
That terrifying feeling of something waiting behind the tree/hedge/wall/fence.
I’m under no illusion as to how difficult it’s going to be.
I understand the enormous task ahead of me.
I must be flipping bonkers!!!!!
Most of all – What a grand adventure it’s going to be. Woohoo!!

Oh and as for my training – LOVING IT!!!! My pace has stabilised, I’m trying to supplement the running with lots of core workouts as well. A couple weeks of pain on the inside and outside of my shins has finally gone away – lots of exercise and massage helped! I’m running up hills almost like one of those Bambi type runners. It’s not for long but I can do it – woohoo!!
Oh – and my GoPro Xmas pressie. I’m thoroughly enjoying the fact that I can grab a pic without risking my mobile anymore.
Enjoy ;-)
Hels
DCIM100GOPROGOPR0265.
DCIM100GOPROGOPR0271.
DCIM100GOPROGOPR0273.
DCIM100GOPROGOPR0298.
DCIM100GOPROGOPR0310.
DCIM100GOPROGOPR0316.

2015 – Big Changes in Small Steps

There’s no easy way to say this. I’m quiet shocked at myself. My stubborn nature can be useful but sometimes just plain idiotic at times!! I mean!! Who would have thought I would enjoy waiting to see what’s next on the training schedule? Seriously!!! Me!!!
I’ve looked at training schedules and plans before and tried to fit them into my life but I had adjusted them to the point of not fit for purpose. Plus I’m at a level of fitness where I know my niggles, injuries and fears well enough to stop or push through them if needed.
I’m thoroughly enjoying waiting for the next week of training. My mojo is back, waiting like a puppy at the door to get outside and run run RUN!! I’m running with ease around routes that had me gasping for air last year. It’s awesome!
There’s a part of me that wishes I should have sought out a coach earlier but I know there would have been excuses or frustration due to working through injuries. I’ve surpassed my own skill to be bloody minded and dig in until I make it work.
I’m not saying everyone should sign up for a coach. I’m expressing my surprise at enjoying a training routine designed for me by someone else.
As for Christmas!
I fell in love with the big distances because of the views and sheer beauty of being in the middle of what felt like no where. But I had no sensible way of capturing some of those views. To share and to keep for myself. I wanted to be able to live those moments again when my memory fails and show to my family the beauty of being fit enough to enjoy those fantastic views on foot!!
I got a GoPro camera. MASSIVE THANKS to my adoring husband. This tiny thing is good fun but with a huge price tag it’s not for everyone. So expect a few more pictures of my adventures from now on. I’m still camera shy but the views will hopefully be amazing ;-)
That’s all for now. I’ll try to keep up to date a bit more but it’s going to be a training breakdown rather than an adventure of events for a little while.
Keep up the good work for those who took up running in 2014 and welcome to the club to anyone who is taking their first steps to being amazing in 2015
Xx ;-) xX

In Training

I know I’ve been quiet for a little while. Didn’t have much to say and too occupied with office work and getting into a new routine with the family. So while I have a few minutes to digitally ramble away to the void of web space, this is what I’ve been up to.

I’ve signed up to a coach. Me! I’ve promised to listen and ask sensible questions. Why a coach? Why not save my hard earned dosh and read through all those running books and blogs to get inspiration and shortcuts – er – correct ways to train!! Well, I’ve seen the benefits of runners being coached and until now I was perfectly happy bimbling along at my own sloth pace. But….. Yes, that inevitable but!! If I want to get myself through a big distance ultra I need to get that little bit faster. I’m not happy about it. I would still be happy at the back of the pack bimbling along at my lovely sloth pace. It would not get me to the finish line of a big ultra in the time limit allowed. Sigh!

Plus I have a tenuous relationship with speed. Me and speed have not been the best of friends. More like those distant family members you know you have but just don’t talk to. That’s my relationship with speed.

So here I am. Learning – gracefully and humbly – to be that little bit faster.

My first two weeks have been interesting. I’m now running to timed workouts rather than distance. I’ve misjudged a number of routes because all the running plans I’ve done before have been focused on distance. A route I thought would take 45 minutes took 30 minutes which ended up with me doing loops until I reached 45 minutes. I’m sure there was an Einstein–Rosen bridge along that route, there’s no way I’m THAT fast!! My gps watch disagrees with me on a regular basis telling me I’m going much faster than I think I am. It’s all becoming very strange. I’ve even learnt how to program workouts into my Garmin 620 – Tempo/progression/easy. I’m regularly running along with the Garmin bleeping away at me and I’m sure I need a bleep machine myself to silence the curses I’m shouting back at the watch. Its become a little bit lonely too. I’m not sure of my pace anymore, it’s changed so much over the last couple months and the usual suspects I run with wouldn’t appreciate me speeding off into the sunset just to keep my watch from bleeping at me so I’ve kept my training runs to myself.

There’s been no training this week. Those things called “Children” brought home one of those lovely viruses that made me feel like my head was to small for my brain, all my joints were 90+ years old, all food was the flavour of cardboard and my throat and chest felt like a bottle brush had been used to clean them with bleach!! Blergh! Today has been the first day I’ve felt even slightly back to MY normal self.

Merry Xmas, Happy New Year and all that jazz
Keep on running
Hels