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

Monday, 29 March 2010

Moving things up a gear

Sorry for neglecting my blog. Was away most of last week with work and then spent the rest of the week catching up with training.

Since my last entry it's been all go! I unfortunately had to pull out of my half marathon race due to transportation difficulties (I couldn't get there). All was not lost though despite the injury still niggling I couldn't afford to sit around so I set off for my first 16 mile run. The first 2 miles were quite painful but I started to loosen up and set off. My pace was and has been distinctly slower than before my injury but I am not sure whether that is a mental barrier or a physical one but I keep telling myself that running this distance is an achievement in itself and by running slow now and allowing for a good taper, I'm increasing my hopes for a sub 4:30 marathon.

The first half of last week was a write off due to being away for a conference and not being able to find more than an hour to myself so by Thursday I was raring to go so I set off for a lunchtime group 6 miler and comfortably ran this in under an hour. The the next morning I took on a warm 7 miler and clocked up another ok time. By Sunday, following a hectic day on Saturday involving walking a lot I felt ready to go out but my legs had other ideas.

I had a 17 miler in mind with a loop that would make it just over 18 miles and I have to say by mile 3 my legs were knackered and was only boosted temporarily after each energy gel. I literally felt like I had weights on my feet and with doing laps of a wood it would of been so easy to give up and head home at 13 miles. BUT I kept going, got lost (on a military firing range...oops) and had a number of dogs jump at me.... must be the socks and finally I got to mile 17. By now I was hating running and wondering what the hell I was doing ...... then came mile 18.... a mile from the house...dammit! I kept going for another 1/2 a mile and decided to call it a day, I probably could of done the 19 but I didn't want to over do it so I strolled home the rest of the route.

At one point I felt like Eddie Izzard as I turned into my road to find an ice cream van waiting.... it wasn't for me though :( SO what does one do after putting ones self through such torture..... torture some more of course! Cue ice bath..... they hurt like hell but the recovery rate is remarkable.... yes I still walk like Legoman the next day but by about 4 pm something changes and before you know it I have the ability to bend my knees again! I am now pretty much back to normal and each time i do it I feel my 'niggles' improving!

It's the last BIG training week and going to try to clock up about 40 miles. 6 miles Wednesday, 5 miles Thursday, 7 miles Friday, 2/3 on Saturday and then the big 20 miles on Monday then HURRAH, taper time!! Time to quit the booze, eat healthier and get my body mended..... its been emotional but I'm nearly there! It's hard to believe that 2 weeks ago my marathon hopes seemed to be fading fast....

Thursday, 18 March 2010

New socks and a new lease of life

After 6.5 days sitting on my arse, ants in my pants and feet twitching I was finally feeling well enough (with the help of ibuprofen and ibuprofen gel) for a short slow run.

The weather was lovely and warm so I dug out the shorts again and my new bright pink compression socks arrived so I obviously had to try those out too :). Well it was a good run, legs felt a bit like lead as I expected after a week out of training but I really felt the socks helping my various ailments and the support on the foot also felt amazing.... I have had to cut all my finger nails off of as getting the blasted things on requires a great deal of finger manoeuvres and is kind of like fitting a square block into a round

I was getting a lot of admiring glances from fellow female runners..... Yup I am pretty cool!

Feeling good now, bit sore as expected! Rest (apart the climb up mount Lincoln for a spot of boozing) tomorrow, 3 maybe 4 miles on Saturday morning then Half marathon day on Sunday! Hopefully I'll be more like a gazelle than a giraffe which is how I feel right now but hopefully the cold will of gone and the legs even better :)
My new socks..... HAPPY TIMES!!!

Monday, 15 March 2010

Down but not out

So it has been a bit of a hellish week this week and I kind of hit rock bottom today.

Following the euphoria of my first half marathon I hit the ground again with a big bump. I went out for a recovery run on Tuesday and started to feel pretty good, the leg was still playing up but in general all was ok..... until the next day. I could barely walk and despite icing and stretching to the max throughout Wednesday and Thursday, by Thursday evening it was all to apparent that I would need to give the 5 miler a miss. I opted for cross training on the bike but the plan to cycle for an hour and a half were hampered by my lack of bike lights! (NOTE TO SELF: sort out that bloody gym membership)

I felt ok after that but yet again the morning was a killer. I had a club run planned (after convincing some people to do a 6miler) but 6 miles was out of the question so I went for a very easy 5 miles. It was a slog and after my run I realised that this injury was just getting worse and worse and that rest was in order. So here I am, day 3 without a run and still in quite a lot of pain and pretty much going in sane.

I am now going through the runners rollercoaster of emotions. When I got up this morning I was in AGONY. The pain was coming from my achilles tendon (not inspired by Mr Beckham) and I was visibly limping for the first time. That was it, breakdown time. Walking to work I worked through scenarios in my head and was beginning to think it was tendinitis which would no doubt halt training and my London marathon dream for 2010. I will be honest this made me feel sick with sadness and disappointment and it brought me to tears. Its easy saying, 'oh you can just walk it' or 'you can just defer it to next year' but I haven't got this far, and trained for a goal only to do half a job or have to start again so I am now more determined than ever to get better and back on the road!

I need to remember this is my first marathon and just finishing will be a massive achievement and I would be one of the less than 1% of brits to of ever completed a marathon, even if it means dragging my gammy leg behind me!!

So I'm also suffering with a cold (and other ailments) so I am still resting and plan to do so until Wednesday or Thursday and get a few 2/3 milers in before race day.... hopefully the rest will work and after 3 days of nothing tonight I did some stretching, light pilates and a few kung fu stances to loosen the leg. I am going to keep up the leg TLC and hopefully I'll be ok for race day and this would be a good test of how the injury holds up!

Fingers crossed the few more days of rest help, the other possibility doesn't bear thinking about so until then I will remain positive.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Half Marathon.....TICK

Well I bet the suspense is now killing you so apologies for not updating my blog faster :)

Well I finally completed my first (probably of many) half marathon on the 7th March 2010. I can officially tick it off the bucket list and now punish myself further. I came in at a very respectable 1hour 59 mins and 37 seconds which considering a few factors a) It is a renowned tough course with 2 monster hills (if a comrades runner even refuses to run up them you know they must be tough) and generally undulating. It was absolutely stunning though its just a shame I couldn't slow down to enjoy it. b) my leg is still giving me problems and was looking at doing a still respectable 2 hours 5 and c) I'd been boozing a bit the night before.

So what did I learn from this race? Well I think I have my energy gel strategy sorted, 1/2 a gel ever 35/40 mins (or the nearest water station), energy drink beforehand along with a banana 2 hours before. I think I managed to channel my nerves better than any of my previous races and did not go out too fast, I think I have become familiar with my pace and it felt a little faster than normal throughout and I was right!

On top of that I now have a race time so I can start predicting my marathon time and start working on a pace strategy.... geeky! To boost the confidence further I have opted to not run the Lincoln 10k :( and go for the Retford Half Marathon in 2 weeks time. This time round I am hoping to shave a couple of minutes off my time, firstly it is an easier route and secondly and going to stay booze free for this one. I do have to factor in that by that point I will be at the peak of marathon training so it may be a slow run, ran at marathon pace. I'll see how it goes though :)

I really am feeling so proud of myself right now and whilst to some this would be a small achievement (and in comparison to what I am going to achieve) but this was a huge deal for me having tried and failed through injury twice, to train for a half marathon. I proved all those who thought I would never commit wrong! In fact I have never been this committed to anything in my life (except for my marriage perhaps ;)) and the first notch on the running shoe has shown how hard I worked. I'm not fast, I'm not super skinny and I am certainly not a health freak but I am certainly, officially a competitive runner who will only get better and better as my confidence and strength builds....

Now I must rest my weary muscles and prepare for 7 miles tomorrow, perhaps 6 if the legs are still not quite up to it! They have been through a lot so I'll let them off this time!

Now I will show you the less glam side of running by posting a photo of me at mile 11, after the second and biggest climb, I am actually running and most people are pictured walking so whoop to me.... I think i was checking my wedding rings here as bizarrely since losing weight my rings have become loose (I thought you didn't lose weight on fingers but hey ho).

Please note crazy running hair, baggy over used running tights but my awesome GBR running top provided by