Sunday, 30 March 2014

Back in the running groove

This week I certainly felt more like my usual self.  Well physically anyway.

My appetite is back and I'm back to relatively normal running mileage.  I'm not building my mileage up again yet, but maybe next week I'll bring it over thirty all going well.

This weeks workouts

  • 4 miles Monday up at the curragh camp.
  • A long walk on Tuesday with some core work, squats and yoga.
  • 5 miles including 4x800m at the track on Wednesday.  
  • Skipped Thursday as I slept badly the night before so was wrecked and went to bed early.
  • 7 miles around town and briefly onto the curragh itself after work on Friday.  Gorgeous evening with the sun just beginning to set as I was turning back.  
  • Sunday 8 miles pacing a friend at a 10k

Saturday I tried something new and volunteered at Naas Parkrun which was altogether very enjoyable.  I was as per usual extremely anxious beforehand but everyone was very friendly and I had nothing to worry about.  Except fucking up I suppose?  I did have to worry about that but I think it went ok. I suppose I will find out if they refuse to accept any more of my volunteering efforts.

In other news I badgered encouraged my eldest to participate and he finished in a very commendable 27 minutes and more importantly was absolutely delighted with himself.  He is a wonderful character but slow to make friends that he sees outside of school since we moved.  Naturally anything I can do to boost his confidence makes my day.

Today we got up bright and early and picked up a friend and colleague to enter her very first 10k!  Luckily she has a similar aged son to mine so they stayed behind to attempt to communicate via computer games as teenagers do.  Meanwhile myself and T registered, peed, warmed up, ran and cooled down to a total of 8 miles for the day.

So all in all a successful weekend of forcing both myself and eldest slightly out of our comfort zone and into the company of other people.  Not an altogether bad idea for either of us. Personally I do badly need to broaden my horizons here and have a good pool of contacts to ensure I continue to leave the house.  Why do I say that?  Well if I said the black dog of depression hadn't reared it's ugly head recently that would be a lie.  Staying very active and busy certainly helps although sometimes it's as if that's merely masking what is underneath.  Fake it 'til you make it?

Sunday, 23 March 2014

On being right, whether by accident or design.

Oh glory glory glory be! How lovely it is to be right!  Being the grandchild of a wonderful but notoriously contrary matriarch I really don't like being told what to do.  Furthermore being told what to do by a man (even if it's my coach) grinds my gears just a tad.  (Remind me again...Why am I single?)

Being told to rest til Monday didn't sit too well with me to put it mildly.  So what did I do instead?
Well I went for a 3 hour hike in the Wicklow mountains yesterday and then ran 10.5 glorious miles today. Huzzah!

Anyway I feel great now so who cares which of us was right (Me! Me me me! I care!)  
Yes I am 9 years old.

In fairness to the coach I was in such a state Thursday he was absolutely right to recommend rest.  And in my defense, if the hike yesterday had gone badly or I'd felt drained afterwards then I wouldn't have considered going out today.  Despite my underlying misgivings I do absorb information from those who know more than me. Anyone who thinks they always know best and has nothing to learn from others is omitting a lot from the learning process.

The hike was glorious though and I had so much energy when I came back I cleaned my apartment from top to bottom.  After a lovely relaxing evening and a great nights sleep I woke up to blue skies and a perfect view of the slightly snow dusted mountains in the distance.  Who wouldn't be inspired to get outside by that?  And in all fairness I really didn't have anything else to do so off I set giving myself full permission to run 10min/miles and to turn back at any point if I felt unwell.
I shouldn't have worried.  My legs were slightly heavy near the end but apart from that I ran consistant 9-9:30min/miles for the entire thing.  No unscheduled stops (except to fiddle with headphones and my visor) and no stomach issues.  No breathlessness and no nausea.

So hopefully this chapter has come to a close I can work towards getting back to where I was before and then onwards and upwards.

Friday, 21 March 2014

When hurts so good turns to sucks so bad

I'm officially going through a bad patch with running.  At least I hope it's a bad patch and not some awful new normal.  
As planned I headed up to the curragh camp Thursday night for a training run with the club.  Planned on being really conservative and doing about 4 miles total.  Of course secretly I was hoping I'd warm up, jog the first lap and feel so fantastic that I would end up only doing the 4 miles but know that I could have done more if I wanted.  Spoiler alert....That didn't happen!

What really happened is this.  I turned up, ran about 1.5 miles at what should have been an easy pace but felt ridiculously hard.  And then I died.  

Well not quite but I felt like I did.  Double vision, heart-rate through the roof, breathing uncontrolled, legs of lead.  I did a pathetic sobby little jog back the next mile to the car by which point I had calmed down a bit. At least I wasn't doing the "Woe is me! My running is broken!" wail by the time the coach spotted me so at I didn't look like as big of an eejit.  Anyway I was told to go home and not come back til Monday and see how I get on then.  Which is probably sensible advice so I'll ignore it and give it another go by myself on Sunday.  

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Of course!

Well what exactly did I expect from Sunday?  A triumphant return to running in front of the local crowd?  Maybe.
A new PB?  Hopefully.
A respectable finish time?  At worst!

How about my very first DNF?  Yup!  I had to drop out after three horrible kilometers and get a lift back with one of the guys at the nearest water station.  Morto!

The bit of the race I did  I can only describe as like trying to run wearing glasses that are several notches away from your prescription on tiny stilts elevated off the ground.  Not my finest moment.

Anyway I think I might have learned my lesson.  My priority this week has been to regain some kind of appetite and get through my workday and daily chores without feeling like I've been run over by a truck.

Once I feel like I've conquered that I'll get back to running.  Hopefully that will begin tomorrow as it's Thursday and that's my favourite night to run easy and catch up with other club members.  I have been trying to do seven miles on a Monday and Thursday night up until this but I think I'll take that back to about three or four tomorrow if I end up going.  Same Friday if I feel up to it and then Saturday is hill walking in Glendalough with some girls from work.  Looking forward to that one! Then if all is well I'll do something a bit longer on Sunday.  Here's hoping!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Back to the grindstone

So I didn't die obviously.  Nasty dose of the flu though so I'm only feeling back to normal now. Went for a slow 2 miles yesterday and it was unnecessarily difficult.  I was sweaty throughout and slightly nauseous so the smart thing would be to rest today.

But I'm doing a race instead! 

Can't help myself!   It's the inaugural running of my hometown 10k and as I'm home for the weekend anyway it would be a shame to miss it.

I have no idea how this is going to go. I can't use my 5k in slane for comparison as it was on trail.  Also if it goes badly it might be due to the illness.

What I do know is I'm well trained for the distance and I know to expect pain and execute my race plan anyway. What I don't know is if the unquantifiable "it" will be there today. Judging by yesterday,  no.. But then when is there ever a correlation between a final training run and race day? Wait and see I suppose! 

I'm really excited though. Proper butterflies and everything!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Sick. Boo!!

It all started with a headache and weird visual disturbances in my right eye at work yesterday around lunchtime.  Of course I blamed this on stress and waited for it to pass.  Yeah, no!

Starting having the shakes on the way home despite wearing lots of layers and the heat blasting in the car.  Three attempts at the code got me into my apartment building, and for the first time without multiple shopping bags I used the lift.

Had a little cry while I fumbled with my door keys and stumbled in, scaring my children with my grey visage and chattering teeth.  Poor things!

So I haven't really moved from my bed since then except for inevitable bathroom trips.  My clothes are still on the floor from yesterday. 
This is all utterly out of character.  I like my bed fine but in not someone who hangs out here a lot.  Love my early mornings too much!  And usually I would make some attempt at cleaning.....but I just can't.  Don't have it in me.

So I'm chilling in my bed, trying to find a comfy position (everything hurts) and feeling very sorry for myself.  Luckily I have the best teenagers in the world getting my water, lemsip and anything else I desire!

One thing I'm not worried about is running.  It's utterly unthinkable for me to go to the shops in the car even so going for a run is not an option. 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Wednesday whine

It's not that I particularly hate Wednesdays.  It's more that I hate the thought of going to the track.
Note that I'm quite specific about this.  I don't actually hate doing track work.  I just hate thinking about it. But I went anyway.

Ran down to the track (conveniently located about half a mile from my apartment) Did another mile warm up and then 5x800m at an average of 7.10min/mile and it felt fairly manageable (in hindsight that is.)  Another 400m cool down and then ran home.

And now I'm high as a kite and can't wait for next week.  When I won't want to go again.  Will have to come back here and read this to remind myself.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Runners Hair

I don't understand ladies who exercise regularly but still manage to look well groomed the rest of the time. Or maybe I do understand perfectly but just refuse to prioritise being well groomed myself and am slightly in awe and jealous!

Don't get me wrong, I love to get dressed up as much as the next girl for a special occasion but I know that if I put in the energy to blowdry and style my hair every day then I would have to cut out some other area that I deem more important.  Like running, stretching, helping kids with homework, preparing healthy meals, reading blogs, housework, anything! Or i'm just lazy.  It could very very easily be that. 

Also it seems a little pointless if you are sweating at least 5 days a week to put an hour into your hair and then scrape it back for a work-out.  No? Just me?

All this talk of hair is because of my impending appointment to get my roots retouched this morning.  I decided that over three months of regrowth was probably enough as it was getting to the stage where I was wearing it curly/frizzy even on nights out to cover the dodgy dark roots! 
I'm sure I'll come back pledging to look after my hair more and make more of an effort in the grooming department. (But I will know I don't really mean it)

Update: Back from the hairdresser and this is as good as it gets.  It's all downhill from here!

Monday, 3 March 2014

Lovely lovely normal

Did all my stretching and core work today and then headed up to run with the club.  Went a bit early so I could get a warm-up lap done so as not to make the same mistake as last week.  Ended up doing 7 miles by myself as only the men and some of the faster ladies were there and as I just mention repeatedly I need to concentrate on doing my own pace right now while I'm building my least outside of sessions at the track.

Its not that I want to plod along indefinitely at my own slow-ass pace.  I just want to throw in faster stuff when my legs feel like it rather than trying to keep up with faster runners during my easy runs.  I'm new to this running with people thing and when I started going to the athletics club first I wasn't getting any recovery or easy runs in.  For the ego this was probably good but it was no good for my poor old legs and I found I didn't have anything left for racing and I love to race!  With myself mostly :)

So did the first couple of miles at about 9min/mile and dropped that to 8:15-8-30 for the next 5.  Felt very comfortable so would be a good half marathon pace so a safe plan for the half in may could be to keep to that pace for 10 miles and go for some negative splits after that.  That should bring me in under 1:50 but maybe it's a bit conservative?  Early days yet....will see how the build up goes.

Race Recap - Slane 5k Trail Race

So this is from a couple of weeks ago but it was different to any other 5k I've done so I thought it was worth recording as I might like to do something like this again.  Or remind myself why not to!

This race took place on an open farm with a tourist hostel on it.  It's just outside Slane village in Co. Meath and is overall quite idyllic.....possibly more so if it hasn't rained almost constantly for a month and isn't located (quite famously) in a valley.  More to come on this!

I arrived over an hour before the race start and parked in an already worryingly muddy field considering I was one of the first cars there.  As I got out of the car to go pick up my number someone with a high spec car was already spinning his/her wheels trying to someone with a practical little runaround this made me a little gleeful and I might have had a little giggle/cackle. I'm not proud of this!  They were fine in the end...don't worry!

I picked up my race number with no problems with a little bag of treats too - a bottle of water, an orange, some race flyers and a 10 euro voucher for wheelworx/runworx....not bad!  There may have been more but I can't remember now. It was quite chilly at this point so went back to my car where I ended up meeting a girl I connected with on the facebook event page who was also running the race alone.  Once we got our numbers sorted we headed up to the start area to people-watch, chat about our other races and generally make the wait for the start less awkward than when alone.  God bless social media!  We did a brief warm up which was worryingly difficult due to the already churned up ground before the race had even started.  This is where I started to be very glad I had signed up for the 5k and not the 10K.

A few minutes before 12 people began to drift up to the start and the route was explained by one of the organisers.  With not much ado the 10k people were off.  Poor things!  About 2-3 minutes later he let us go and we were away.

Off I went downhill about 200 meters into a sharp left through a gate where I became immediately very glad I had tightened my shoelaces firmly before the racc - someone left a shoe behind in the sucking mud!  And I have a feeling this was not the last time this happened during this event.  Around the bend we went and were faced with a truly massive hill. I was more shocked at the fact that I hadn't noticed it's existence at all than surprised that we were expected to climb it.  Luckily I had done my share of massive hills in Achill the week before on a run out and back to Keem beach so I wasn't particularly phased by it but I knew I would have cried if I'd seen it a year or two ago.  Started to pass a lot of people from the 5k at this stage and some of those from the 10k too but felt really strong so kept at it.  The 1k mark wasn't long after the crest of the hill but we didn't get much relief as the next kilometer was marked by being single track trail in areas where it was very hard to overtake as well as very treacherous ground.  This bit seemed to go on forever but going through trees as we were I could see the appeal of racing on this in better conditions.   Trying to find the best line, dodging around branches etc.  As it stood this wasn't really possible as it was all about staying upright!

The next couple of kilometers were mostly just very very wet ground with only very rare steps where you weren't up to your ankles in mud.  There was also a small stream which in normal circumstances could probably be forded quite easily but I opted to go straight in to mid calf as it was too hard to see the stones due to the flooding.  To be honest this was quite a relief just to get the clogged mud off the shoes at that stage!

During the last kilometer there was about 300 meters on road as we headed back towards the start area and this felt like running on clouds, fairydust and Beyonces backside.  Of course I was so happy to be on road I sprinted like a fool and toasted my legs.  I was in for a lovely surprise when we got back on boggy ground for the last run uphill to the finish.  I may not look like Bambi but my legs did a damn good impression!   Luckily I had left enough of a gap between me and the next competitor that she didn't catch me on this bit as I hadn't a hope of speeding up!

Was delighted to find out after that I was the 7th lady in the 5k out of around 70.  Not bad for a slow coach.

Overall a really good first running of this event and I hope they run it again next year.  I was sore up to mid thigh until the following Wednesday so just goes to shoe what different muscles these sort of events use over a road 5k.  Hopefully these sort of things stand me in good stead for when I do my first road 5k or 10k of 2014 over the next few weeks.

Shoes! Really this time...

As you can see, my orange-laced Saucony Omni 11's had passed their sell by date.  I got these just before I started training for the marathon so they have got well over the recommended 500 miles on them.  I do rotate my shoes but my other 2 pairs are both over 2 years old.  Shame on me!!
These guys have served me well and I have had no significant injuries in them so far so I made the decision to buy the exact same shoe online.  This meant I got last years shoe at a big discount which is ace as I'm broke :)  I have supported running shops in the past and most probably will again in the future but right now due to the financial realities of being a working single parent of teens I am not in a position to spend 135 euro on runners I can get for 70 online.  I will continue to pay my taxes, give to charity etc. but I'm just not a complete mug!

Can't wait to give the new one's a run out but yesterday, in the rain, on the curragh was not the time.  In fact I didn't even wear the dirty ones so that's not even why they are filthy!  I always wear a less cushioned shoe on the grass as I don't feel I need it as much and when it's wet or uneven I'm much more concerned about grip and contact with the ground than cushioning.  I'm liable to topple over at the least provocation at the best of times so I need all the help I can get on uneven ground.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Injury scare and new shoes!!

Ooops!  Fell of the wagon again.  It does take me a while to build a habit but then once I do I'm on rails and dislike not doing what I'm supposed to so need to treat this blogging like salads and lunges!

Speaking of habits I need to pick up I had been dallying with some strength work and a bit of stretching to compliment my running but not with any regularity.  Well trust the universe to give me a good kick in the arse quite literally.

To give you some background I have been building up my mileage from a base of about 20miles a week after the marathon and in January back to 25-30miles in the last few weeks.  I was hoping to then gradually build this up to 40-50 by mid summer with the aim of being able to build up to a marathon from that base quite easily should I feel like it.  Anyway there I was going my merry little way with nary a thought of my poor stressed muscles, ligaments and tendons.  Surely disaster was about to strike!?

Last week I had put a target of 32 miles in place.  Started well with 10 on Monday feeling fine.  Rested Tuesday and went to the track for 8x400 on Wednesday which with a warm-up and cool down came to about 5 miles total.  Thursday was where I made a major mistake.  I usually meet similar paced friends from the club for a couple of easy 2.5mile laps following the speed work the previous night but wanted to get some extra distance in so arrived early.  Only to be met by the friendly, lovely, but much too speedy L & P.  Now these guys insisted that I should tag along with them as they were doing an easy recovery run anyway.  I argued briefly but allowed my arm to be twisted......silly girl!!!  I could tell they were slowing down for me but we still did the first lap at an average 8:10min/mile.......this is not recovery pace for me and I was not warmed up after a long day at a desk and an hours drive home.  Sure enough I started to feel discomfort along my left side about half way through the first lap.  Oh no!  Typically I was too busy trying to pretend I was ok at that pace to say anything so I waited until the end of the lap to stop......and then continued to do two more laps at a slower pace for a total of 7 miles.  By the time I got home I couldn't even decide where it hurt except that I ached all down my left side from under my ribcage to the ankle.  Fully. My. Fault.

This is where I do something smart for a change!!!  I rested.   I was very scared that this was something that would put me out of running for a few weeks or even months so while the discomfort wasn't that bad I decided to be conservative.  I read around and figured out it could be my IT band (have had issues there before) bursitis of the hip or something involving one of the glutes.  Or! Or!  It could just be my back which might sound more serious but if its only my back I know exactly where I stand from long experience and I know I can run on it.  Yay!
So I foam rolled and had a hot bath.  I self massaged and yoga'd.  I youtubed and as a result, myrtled (look it up!)  Everything that was in my arsenal I used except painkillers as a) I wasn't in enough pain and b) I wanted to locate the source of the discomfort.  By yesterday I still had pain to my ankle and this was very good news!  I've had sciatica enough to know that thats probably what it was.

I was going to go for a short trot yesterday to test it but sanity ruled and I left it until this morning.  There was a group from the club doing a ten miler at ten but again, good sense reigned and I decided to go by myself so I had control of the variables.  I wanted a few things.  Firstly I wanted time to do a proper warm up and to start slowly and work up to my own easy pace so I could watch my form.  Secondly I wanted to run on grass and I'm fairly sure the 10 miler would be mostly on road and thirdly (and relatedly) I didn't want a road camber to irritate my hips.  Anyway I set out in the pouring rain but I didn't care cos it was pain free for all 6 miles.  Yippee!!  Got back and did the stretches and strength work again and I'm still feeling good....pretty sure it's lower back pain.  Fingers crossed I can get back to building up my miles....phew!

Also I bought new shoes but I haven't gotten to wear them yet and this post is too long so I'll put up a pic in my next post.