Monday, 14 May 2018

Running recap since late 2015

In terms of marathons, there has not been a lot going on since 2015. Or rather there has been a lot of trying but not a whole lot of success.

In Autumn 2016 I trained for the Dublin Marathon with a goal of running under 3:30. Training went really well until about five weeks out when I got sick with an ear infection. Rest didn't work and neither did two courses of antibiotics the last of which finished I finished two days before marathon day. I got to mile 10 and ended up dropping out at that point. My very first marathon DNF! My relaxed attitude to dropping out was probably helped by knowing that I would be starting to train for the Boston Marathon 2017 mere weeks later in early December. That
would surely go more smoothly  right?

December passed easily enough with training feeling good. I had started to build my mileage nicely by Christmas.
On the first of January, I decided to test my fitness and run a 10k. So far so predictable.
The race itself passed off uneventfully. I ran it in 46 minutes while chatting comfortably for most of the race. I had wanted to work but not kill myself and was really happy with how well I felt crossing the line. On the cooldown, everything changed.
Suddenly, I started to feel pain in the sole of my right foot, just in front of the heel. It wasn't too bad though so I put it out of my mind.
The following morning the foot felt a bit tender but not too bad, so I stupidly decided that it would be fine to go and run eight miles with the club on grass. I managed two miles before I had to walk back to the car. That was the last time I ran for four weeks.

My plantar fascia was in a mess. Weeks of contrast baths, electric shock treatment, massage, stretching, gliding on the cross trainer, and strength training later I was allowed to run one mile. It was now February and the Boston Marathon was in early April.
I built up my mileage slowly, but never managed more than three to four days of running per week without the foot flaring up. Most of my speed work was done on the cross trainer, partially to spare the foot and partially out of boredom. My long runs happened on the Curragh planes in four or six-mile loops so that I could stay on the grass.

Sleepy be continued tomorrow if i have the energy

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Everyday things i'm discovering I need for sanity

To play songs in my car that I love but have forgotten about. Also to play new songs similar to them but just slightly different. This is equal parts a need for music, and distaste for anxiety-making news.

My drug of choice is running. I feel like my brain without running is made of something like Velcro and grasps onto and gathers all around it, attaching to the useful and useless all the same and sending my thoughts spinning round and round. After a run, my brain feels like it's coated in Teflon. All those ideas and worries are still there, they haven't gone away, but it's like my non-stick brain won't let them attach themselves and worm their way in.
If injured or too cracked to run, walking for a long time with a good podcast will work.

Terrible coffee creamer
I have to confess that a tablespoon of, bad for you, non-dairy, non-food probably, french vanilla coffee creamer (probably not french vanilla, let's be fair) in my bog standard work coffee makes me very content.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

A prolonged pause

Are you there Blog? It's me, Lisa. I have just read back through my last few posts from 2015 and it really does feel a lifetime ago since I wrote here, and at the same time only just out of reach - much like my fitness and mental health!

I have decided to get back to writing this little log as I miss the act of writing for its' own sake, and I'm far too disorganised to start an actual journal. I want to come here to document my journey back to wellness. In many ways, this has already begun; the return to health, to job satisfaction, and to personal fulfillment. One baby step at a time. Not asking for much am I?

The last few years have certainly not been all bad, on the contrary, there has been so much to be grateful for. So very much of everything that my poor old battered brain went into overload like the robot on Lost in Space (the old one) and forgot how to chill the eff out.

Things to be grateful for:

  • I am in good physical health, a bit anaemic, but who isn't?
  • I have two kids in college doing things they enjoy.
  • My partner is funny, kind, gentle, loyal and loving. Also handsome. 
  • I have good friends, close-by who are busy but supportive. 
  • The above-mentioned college education is not bankrupting me as yet.
  • I have no major consumer debt. 
  • My job is ok.
  • I'm not that out of shape. 
This is a lot! I am so very lucky....but of course, I would like to be able to upgrade this slightly, just not at the expense of losing any of the above. How about all of the above but not anaemic and in good running shape? It's a deal! 

Friday, 30 October 2015

Strength training continued...

So despite the major DOMS after last week's session I again ventured to the Thursday night strength and conditioning class at industrial fitness. It was so good and I'm so much less sore than last week. I even managed to put weight on the bar for my strict press (a grand total of 2.5kg....super woman I am not!)

So what is the idea behind trying to get into a regular strength training routine and why have I chosen the class I have?

There are two fairly well researched reasons in the literature for doing strength training as a runner. Firstly, lifting heavy strengthens the hips and hip stability is huge for injury prevention. Secondly, lifting heavy helps to create more power with each stride. A more powerful stride with the same aerobic fitness brings an increase in speed. Either one of those benefits on their own are enough for me to want to try to make this a regular part of my training.
Of course I still have to do all of my other running sessions trying to bring my turnover back up after marathon training but it's going to be interesting to see if it helps.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

SSE Dublin Marathon 2015 - spectator race recap

Bank holiday Monday was my first time spectating the Dublin Marathon and I must admit it was a much more physically exhausting task than I expected!
The SO and a handful of other guys from the club were running so I had plenty to cheer for and although I promised to be there at mile 5, 20 and near the end I thought for some reason I was going to have a lovely relaxing day. I even left the house uncaffeinated as I was sure if mostly be sipping cappuccinos to stay warm. Ummm....not quite!!

As anyone with eyes may have noticed Monday morning was really windy with some misty rain. I was so worried for the SO (J) as a pb attempt didn't seem to on the cards on a day like this on a course as exposed as Dublin. Anyway, I tried to be upbeat on the drive in and the excited crowds on the Luas from Stillorgan were at least a distraction. Before I knew it I was saying goodbye to J and wandering towards the Abbey street to get the Luas......except the Luas wasn't running on this section. Eek!
At this point I realised I'd have to run 6 minute miles to beat J to mile 5 so I was going to have to adjust plans. I set off as fast as my legs would carry me towards the chapelizod gate as I knew the course comes out of the gate there at about 10 miles. A few miles later I arrived at the gates just as the lead runners had gone through....phew!!! I got my breath back and got busy cheering. Not that long later J came through looking like he was working hard but he didn't see me. I stuck around and waited for the rest of the club runners to come through, most looking comfortable and relaxed and giving me a wave or smile.
After this it was an uphill slog on closed roads back up to Heuston for a taxi to Milltown. This part was much easier logistically as the taxi was able to bring me right to the bottom of Milltown road and it was a short walk to the top of the ideal vantage point to see approaching runners. I was getting nervous now about J and how he was getting on after seeing him work hard at 10 miles. I started to chat to a pleasant guy on the hill as we watched and clapped for the runners passing by. Then in the distance I picked out a familiar running style and there was J coming towards me,  running strong up the hill with a big smile on his face! I jumped in with him for a few yards as he came by and passed him a small bottle of coke and just told him he looked strong. He was totally with it and I knew then that the wheels were staying on today!
The rest of the Newbridge ac crew followed in fairly quick succession and I decided to run to the finish from there...taking a cross street to Ballsbridge that got me to mile 25 in very short order. I found a little spot for myself between the 800 and 400 signs and settled it to watch. This was one of the most inspiring parts of the experience for me. Seeing people coming towards the finish in all sorts of conditions....some with a smile. Others with a grimace or stopping to stretch a last minute cramp. The waves of cheers for everyone was overwhelming and I was moved to tears on several occasions, most notably when J passed by with 2:52 on the clock and I knew he was going to be well under 3 hours. I was sooooo proud and so happy for him. His finish time was 2:54...a 5 minute pb!

I waited near the finish for another half an hour watching more and more finishers pass by and then made my way over to meet J and shuffle him over to Sinnotts for a drink and something to eat. Stairs may not have made it the best choice but the proximity to the Luas for his rapidly tightening leg muscles was great!

Friday, 23 October 2015

No pain no gain?

Part of what I've promised myself for the next few months is that I'll get into a regular strength training routine. I've tried to do this before but it's always the first thing to go once I get busy and the miles start building up (or truth be told, when I'm broke!) 

The plan for now is to try to make it to one strength and conditioning class per week at Industrial Fitness Newbridge and then do a second session at home if possible.
I love the Thursday night class at Industrial Fitness and always feel like a total badass after. This is completely unjustified as I can only do about half of the moves but feck it.....I try! It's a big warehouse kind of set-up and the class structure is a short warm up followed by about twenty minutes doing two different types of lifts - low amount of reps with heavy weights and then a conditioning session of about fifteen minutes of circuits of some sort. 

The instructors Pa and Morgan are great. They know their stuff and give loads of encouragement and everyone is friendly. Last Thursday night was my first night back since the big miles kicked in a few months back and it was.....interesting! I'm as weak as a kitten and seem to have forgotten how to do burpees (sad face) but I appear to still be able to squat so that's one good thing to take from it. 

The day after I was in a serious amount of pain so that was fun! What I would like to do is get some weights here at home so I can do a second session on a Monday after my tempo run and then I won't be in so much pain after the Thursday night class. This is all very well in theory but we will see if I follow through on it. 

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

What to do?

It's just over two weeks after the marathon and I'm back running fairly regularly. Recovery went well except for my ganky toe which is only getting back to itself now. I do have before and after pics but I don't think they need to be recorded on here! 

I did my first faster run since getting back into training last night. It was a five mile tempo with L and O from the club plus a group of guys but it was only a hard effort for us girls.....the rest of them were not even breathing hard. We finished with an average of about 7:30 pace which I was happy about for a comeback run but is miles off where I was speedwise in the spring. Also I was banjaxed by mile 4 while the other two girls were grand. Oh well! Time to get back to the track and do some speedwork! 

So what is on the cards for the future with races? Well there is only one definite so far and that is Kildare Senior Cross Country. The club are hosting it this year and our strongest female is 'with child' so we need all hands on deck for that one. That's not until the end of November though so I need to do something before then or I'll be totally gun shy!

I'm toying with the idea of a flat, fast looking 5k in early November as I really think I can get under 21 mins on the right day so that's a maybe. And then there is a half marathon in portarlington in mid November. I haven't done a half since 2014 so I feel like I'd have to have a disaster not to pb (famous last words?)

Other than that I have no big plans for 2016. I need to get a bit of a mental break before I can decide if I want to do a marathon next year or not. I'll admit that the thought of taking a few more minutes off the pb is appealing but I don't think jumping straight back into training for a marathon is going to get me there. What seems to have worked for me is building a good base over the winter, getting faster over shorter distances in the spring and then marathon training over the long days of summer if I feel like it by then. I might stick to that for 2016 and see how it serves me. Or I reserve the right to change my mind at any point!