After running the London Marathon in 2010 I continue my pursuit for sporting greatness without the aid of running shoes. I now run 'Barefoot' full time and aim to run the London Marathon 2012 'bare'

My blog is an account of training for running, triathlon, staying fit for life and pushing my body to it's limits to become 'superfit'. I hope it will inspire others to go out and get fit for life and see how enjoyable and rewarding it can be

Sunday, 28 February 2010

On yer bike

After a week of struggling with the calf/knee injury I was relieved to have a few days off from the running, the leg got progressively worst throughout the week and by Friday I was distinctly limping.

By yesterday I was living off painkillers and really in a lot of pain. It was getting to the stage where I was becoming concerned. I spent yesterday evening with an ice patch attached to my leg, ibuprofen gel permanently in my possession and my husbands leg massages on demand :)

I was feeling confident that by this morning I'd be fresh as a daisy...ha ha! Today the pain was different, almost a good pain but too painful to walk let alone run. I am hoping the 'good' part is the muscle healing or just my body grateful for a rest. Anyway 16 miles was not even imaginable today.....on foot!

So I dusted off my bike (I quite literally did have to dust my wrapped up, loaded my bike rucksack and went of for a cycle ride. The plan was to spend as much time on the bike as I would've spent running today so my body was still used to the long Sunday workout. I also wanted to cover around 20 miles! Well I was glad to see it was dry but it was astonishingly windy, especially cycling across the flats. On top of that it was incredibly muddy from a distinctly wet week and the Trent could be seen in places it wouldn't usually be :)

It was a tough ride and I pushed it even when the wind wanted me to go backwards. Those who say Nottingham/Lincolnshire is not hilly clearly does not cycle! Half Marathon race on Sunday so this was probably better training than a long run would've been anyway! Hopefully things will be all dandy by then!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

SNOW, pfft..... whatever

So last week was kind of non eventful in the running stakes. Had a few runs in very windy and very snowy conditions and started introducing the 6 milers into my training. After my fall the previous weekend I am still struggling with what I thought was a calf injury but now realise its more of a knee injury.... it's all very confusing.

Spent some time icing the offending calf last week after runs but to no avail and after a few days break, by Sunday I was ready to go. I was scheduled in for a 15 miler and woke up an hour earlier than I needed too on Sunday morning as I really was ready to take the run on, so the hydrating, energy loading began and was about to get dress and realised there was a weird glow coming from outside. The sky was perfectly blue, the sun was out, no wonder I was raring to go...... shame there was about 4 inches of fresh snow on the ground and still falling.

Now we all know I love my snow running but one look outside and I realised 15 miles in relatively untouched snow would be very hard work, even for the fittest of the fit so I sat tight and went to back to bed for an hour hoping that when I woke up it'd be raining and such luck! One hour later and there was another inch on the ground. If it was that deep near my house (usually a very melted very quick) I shuddered to think how deep it'd be far out in the country where I run to.....

So I sulked for a couple of hours intently watching to see it melted a little and it wouldn't go away so I had some breakfast. What ever the weather had in store now I wouldn't be able to run till at least 2ish..... then finally the sun got warmer and the snow started to melt..... That was it, I set a target, 15 miles in the country was just not possible and too dangerous but maybe I'd do 8 on the roads (laps, Newark is pretty small....boooo). Then the more I sat there waiting for breakfast to digest I thought sod it, I'll do 11 miles! It'll be boring as hell but at least I got out in such adverse conditions.

So I started my run thankful for the painkiller I had before I left to alleviate the knee/calf pain, the first 3 miles were a real slog and the melting snow meant my trainers and feet were drenched and heavy but I kept going. Then I got lost for about a mile at mile 7 (in some nasty estate on the edges of Newark) so I thought, an extra mile will make this 12 miles, I may as well go for a half marathon. I finally found my beacon of hope (Mary Magadalene church spire which can be seen for miles). At that point I found a burst of energy and with the weather now stunning, took the river route back to complete my first lap. At this point I realised I was going to be running over 13 miles and thought sod it, I'll do 14..... And so I did, and I was so chuffed with myself for carrying on when the weather could of been the perfect excuse to have a lazy day. I really paid for it yesterday though (as snowy running really works EVERY muscle twice as hard) and was hunched in an old lady fashion for most the day!lol

So today was a recovery/easy run with the calf still twinging but I still improved on my time and felt quite good. More 6 milers this week then 16 miles on Sunday.......that's quite far!!!!

Something I should share with you all that may disgust you (but I am bizarrely proud of) is my first victim of 'black toenail' a running ailment to be truly proud of and common amongst runners everywhere. The legend say that you get them when you progress from being a recreational runner, to a proper runner....(or some say it's cause your shoes are too small...but ssssh). So my manky gammy toenail is a medal to be proud of, a medal of my hard work and proof I AM a proper runner now!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

34 miles and feeling fine

Another week closer to 'M' day and I'm really building in confidence now. As the title to this blog dictates, I ran 34 miles last week and despite an incident I will get to later I was feeling fine. I did go for a guilty push last week so the mileage will probably drop a little this week (as I'll be doing one less run) but I think I proved to myself what I am capable of now.

This weekend we were away but despite a very early morning on Saturday and trekking halfway across the UK I still managed to complete my first half marathon. I was staying in the town I grew up in so it made it interesting having not seen the place in about 3 years. There were some sad things to see but overall a very positive experience.

Up till now I have been trying to run without the gels (just jelly babies and energy drink) to train my body to survive on very little but for the half (and with it being far more hilly than the Notts countryside) I took the plunge and took out an energy gel. It made a world of difference and having heard the horror stories I was a little worried (I even carried some loo roll with me) but this was the first gel I tried and it seemed to suit me fine. I now can see why they are so important and you get a boost from them that you just do not get from energy drinks. I also found my hydration levels were a lot easier to manage. I generally opt for only drinking when thirsty (as you should do) but found myself having remind myself to drink as I was not feeling thirsty at all!

For the first 10 miles I was looking at running in just over 2 Hours but come mile 10 I was reminded of how high up Epsom Downs was as I climbed Downs Road (a bloody steep hill) when I got to the top I started to recover well and of all the places on my run I could of tripped, I tripped at the viewpoint which was rammed full of people...... Basically what happened was someone disposed of what I think was a metal loop of some description and both my feet landed in it and as I took my next step.... yup as you can imagine I went flying in my now foul mood a few people asked if I was OK and I very unconvincingly leapt up saying I was fine whilst hobbling quite severely.... I had landed on my knee!

2 mins later and my pace had dropped by about 2 minutes and I could quite literally feel my knee pulsating. Needless to say I had a very slow final 3 miles and managed to finished in a respectable 2 hours 8 minutes (even if it was about 6 minutes slower than I was on target for). As soon as I stopped and got back to the hotel and the adrenalin wore off I actually couldn't move properly for about 10 minutes (cue husband to help me stretch out the aches and pains) and it became apparent that the bruised ankles from the force of getting my legs tangled were going to be the big problem.....

And indeed they were, I was due a run today and the front of my ankle was still sore and bruised not fully able to extend my foot, with it being in front of my foot (which is problematic going up and down hills/slopes). WIn or lose I'll be out tomorrow for a 5 miler and get the ankles moving, depending how it feels (I think the extra day rest will of helped) I'll do 6 on Thursday and another 5 on Friday. Sunday will be the long run again which is scheduled for a 14 miler but may go for the 15, that way I can get in 2 20milers before the marathon which could be hugely beneficial.

2 and a half more weeks until the Grantham Half Marathon and I'm still aiming for the sub 2 hours but anything under 2 hours 5mins, I will be happy!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Runner's guilt

So last week after some good runs during the week I was starting to see a recurrence of an old injury, throughout the week it was no more than a niggle and whilst these niggles do hold you back I still felt OK.

Sunday morning I woke up and my ankle was stiff and sore before I even got out of bed. So I got up, carbed up and got dressed for my run. I then got this sinking feeling in my stomach that I just didn't feel well enough. The ankle wasn't loosening up and nor were my spirits. I had to make a decision and decided to take a break from my long run. The guilt that hung over my head for the hours that followed were unbearable but a part of me knew that it was the right decision. By late afternoon and following hours of justifying myself I realised that after 8 weeks of ever increasing long runs, I was due a break. Most coaches recommend it and the signals my body were given were right.

I still feel to this day, if I had run, I would of done more damage than good and would probably not be running this week.... all this understanding aside I am still getting the pangs of guilt :(

By Monday the ankle was feeling better and I was feeling significantly refreshed and decided that after reading a few articles on time trials, I would attempt one myself. I opted for a 10km run, a little over my normal runs and a good measure of my improvements. Well I managed a new PB of 55 minutes and 20 secs, not just a PB but a PB of about 3.5 minutes!!! Following that I felt better about myself and made me realise further how vital taking a rest on Sunday was. I was feeling on top of the world again!

I did a 'recovery' run this evening as I really did push myself on Monday and I could still feel it in my legs. Well in the end it was a good run and the biggest positive was that I felt like I was running slow and so did my lungs but it turned out I was still running 9.07 minute miles! Whilst my training focusses of endurance more than speed (I have never been a fast runner) these little improvements make me realise what my training is doing to my speed as well as my endurance.... That sub 4 hour 30 marathon is looking more and more doable now and based on my time trial I have the potential to go sub 4:20 but I'm not going to push it :)

Now I don't know whether it is guilt or just trying to mix things up this week but following my 10k on Monday I am going to attempt to run 4 days in a row.... another little effort to work on running through fatigue (which will no doubt happen during the 26.2 miles) and pushing myself a little bit more. That will mean that by Saturday I will of run 20.5 miles.

Then I go away for the weekend and having originally planned to run my long run on Monday, I decided that it will probably not happen.... 13 miles on dark cold roads is not appealing. So I'm being a geek, taking my running kit with me, I will be staying near to where I grew up so decided to do a run down memory lane (so I don't have to drag poor Craig around on my reminiscing missions). I'm going to do 13 miles of running past old schools, homes, haunts! It'll probably be a little emotional but a great way to add some zest into my long run away from home..... at least I'll know the area like the back of my hand and the drive to get me around will be my sisters 30th birthday masquerade ball (with a couple of ciders with my name on)!

So that's me this week. I will of course keep you posted and I would like to take this chance to thank you all for being so supportive, especially my husband!

Another thank you to those who have sponsored me already but I still need to raise more, please please sponsor me anything you can, even if it is 20p you can remain anonymous as well if you don't want me to know what you donated. But I'll be honest any donation no matter how small means the world to the lives we are saving. Sponsor me by clicking here

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Im a racing car passing by, like lady godiva, Im gonna go go go There's no stopping me

So what's been going on in the insane world of a marathon runner in training?

Well we'll start with Sunday's long run, after the bitter disappointment (and a few tears) of Andy Murray losing I was feeling utterly deflated! I meant to get out first thing in the morning but I hadn't actually realised it'd still be dark, the prospect of a Looooong road run sent me straight back to sleep :). So I watched the tennis first and by the time I got out the door it was midday and all I'd eaten was an apple and drunk energy drinks. Needless to say it didn't take long for my glycogen stores to deplete. Thankfully I was armed with jelly babies and sesame snaps!! I did pay the price for not eating a proper breakfast though and every mile was a bit of a slog and was permanently playing catch up with the carbs. I was determined to do the scheduled 11 miles (on the same route as last week) and when I reached halfway and it was time for me to turn around I carried on a little further and completed 11.6 miles overall.

The run took me on about 3 miles of trail running too but I still managed to finish, in a good time and without any walk breaks (except for water stops which are essential when managing your fluids carefully). I really wasn't working at all on speed this run but my general long run pace has sped up!

On top of that the shorter runs pace has got quicker (away from speed work) so I am getting faster as well as being comfortable with endurance levels. Had a nifty little 5 miler this evening which was at a decent pace considering I had sleet, hail, snow AND rain thrown at me on a 45 minute run and it was a bit of a recovery run. My ankles were still a bit sore from the trail running on Sunday. I am hoping to maybe get a 13 mile run (half marathon) in next Sunday.

Talking of half marathons I have signed up for Grantham's Half Marathon on the 7th March. At the moment if I ran it at Sundays pace I would finish in 2 hours 2 minutes.... but me being me that wont be good enough, with it being so close to the 2 hour mark I am aiming for a sub 2 hours time. This is a warm up for the marathon and will be 'racing' not just going the distance! 2 Weeks after that I have the very popular Lincoln 10k, This will be a dramatic drop in long run distance BUT I think I may race it as a time trial.... not thought about times for this one yet but possibly sub 55 mins (which would be 4 mins off my 10k race PB)

Anyway, I am really getting into the sciencey stuff with running and exercise in general and it's probably taking over my life :) BUT it has made me realise how much I would love to teach people what I have learnt in the form of personal training and I think once training is done (well not so regimented, I will still be running after the marathon with the Newark half in August) I need to get studying for my personal trainer qualification. I wont bore you now with the sciencey stuff though but it IS exciting.......Promise!