Determined as ever

It’s been a while and lots has happened! Two days after my last post I broke my ankle, again, and ended my dreams of running a Marathon before my 40th birthday.

Recovery this time was a lot slower as I broke it in two places and was banned from running for 3 months minimum. I might have bent the rules slightly, as in January I began Couch 2 5K with my eldest daughter as a way of easing myself back in slowly. I’m not going to lie, it was tough. Starting from scratch with what felt like zero fitness, an extra couple of stone in weigh, a demanding job and a small person that still woke several times a night required ever ounce of strength I had. Every week I pushed myself to go, come rain or shine. I followed the plan, increased my intervals and completed my 5k non stop run. I was on top of the world. It was slow. It was painful. But I’d done it. It gave me hope that I could get back to where I was before, that a Spring Half Marathon was a possibility after all – then I got poorly. A flu type virus knocked me sideways and left me unable to climb the stairs without getting out of breath, let alone run. That was 6 weeks ago and I’ve still not managed to run a full 5k again.

Despite this I have pushed myself time and again to get back out there and keep running. I’ve cried more than I care to admit over my lack of fitness and my impossibly busy life that means there just aren’t enough hours in the day to be a wife, mother, student, teacher and runner. I could so easily have given up on running. Thrown away my trainers and resigned myself to watching my friends continue to go great things without me … but it’s just not in my nature.

Yesterday I should have run Brighton Marathon. Instead, with my husbands encouragement, I went out and did my longest run since the GSR in October. It wasn’t fast and it wasn’t comfortable. I ran solidly for the first 2 Miles and then introduced walking sections as needed for the final two. It was just what I needed and gave me the fire I needed to stop wallowing and focus properly on my recovery. I’ve bought a new running watch to inspire me. I’ve started going to the gym to incorporate strength training into my routine and I’ve drawn up a plan. I have 6 races booked so far in the next 12 months starting with a local 10k next week.

Watch this space …

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Let do this!

Yikes that was tough 🙈

Half term means I can rejoin JP for Tuesday morning training and thankfully daddy kept the smalls at home. Strength and conditioning this morning but it was painful. My lungs screamed, the cold air played havoc with my asthma and my stamina is shot. I knew it would be tough, knew I’d lost my fitness since the summer but I didn’t expect it to be so bad. But I did it. I pushed through. It wasn’t fast. It wasn’t pretty but I did it.

2.7 miles this morning. Transform this afternoon. Slow and steady. One day at a time. I will get back where I was and then I can get where I want to be. Roll on Thursday.

Starting again

It’s been a while! Since Heron HM in June things have all gone awry. Summer holidays, teacher training and niggles that just wouldn’t shift. My training has been non existent and I’ve (stupidly) done 2 HM’s and a 10 mile race in the last 5 weeks.

16th September – Truro Half Marathon. Hard and Hilly but I finished with a smile on my face and flying feet. 2:51:45 with 1,198ft elevation.

7th October – Cardiff Half Marathon. Such a busy race with a huge field. Couldn’t settle into a good pace at the start as just so busy which meant I had to walk as couldn’t get round the people in front. Disappointed as I know I could have done better and instead ended up with my slowest ever HM 😞.

21st October – Great South Run. I was so desperate to complete my home run and finish with a 10 mile PB but the lack of training was evident and it took me a disappointing 2:03:41

Big races on little or no training is not a good idea. They hurt and I had to dig deep each time. But I finished each and every one of them with a smile and a sprint finish. One positive is no ill effects the next day except a little tiredness and slight ache. Imagine how I’d feel if I trained?!?!?!

So what next?

Training plan is in place and countdown is on to my biggest challenge yet … Brighton Marathon! Training doesn’t start properly for several weeks so for now I’ll focus on habit forming and rebuilding my stamina slowly. Back on the healthy eating plan, cross training built in to my schedule and a determination to succeed. Fingers crossed I can stay injury free this winter!!! Watch this space ….

A change is as good as a rest

My plan has worked. Dropping my miles right back down after Heron Half in June and increasing strength and conditioning work has paid off. Although I’ve run regularly I’ve kept the mileage low until recently and rekindled my love of running. My natural, comfortable pace on the flat has increased dramatically and I now have the strength and stamina to run up the hills that I would have previously walked.

This morning I tackled my longest run since Heron. 7 hilly miles that I smashed! My pace on the climbs matched my previous flat pace for a run of this distance and my flat/downhill/gentle incline pace was fast (for me). I’m absolutely buzzing after this run. Excited to see what the next few weeks/months holds and feeling confident for some new PBs.

The difference I have felt in my last few runs is huge and has given me a real confidence boost. Who knew that all I needed to do was reduce my mileage and start from scratch?

Happy Runniversary to me!

I had no idea that the events of 26th June 2017 would have such a huge impact on my life. I dropped the big girls at school, took the boy to nursery and popped into Sports Direct. I spent £50 on a pair of trainers, a sports bra, capris and a top. I strapped little miss into the (completely unsuitable) buggy, put some tunes on my phone and set off on a run/walk.

I did 6k in 42 minutes and earned my first virtual medal, the RMR finishers medal, for completing 5k. I went out again on the Wednesday and the Friday. I took part in my first Parkrun that Saturday and so the cycle began. I ran with the buggy when boy was at nursery, with my big girls on a Friday pm when Mr W got home and Saturday morning was parkrun.

First proper race was a 5k Race for Life in Taunton with the girls. We ran the whole 5k, no walking and stayed together to cross the finish line. Somewhere along the line Mr W convinced me to sign up for the Great South Run in October with two friends, told me it would add focus to my training a give me something to aim for! By this point I could run/walk 10k but 10 miles was a whole other ball game.

I was doing this all by myself. I had no training plan, knew nothing of how to increase mileage safely, gait analysis, correct trainers, technique. I just laced up my trainers and ran. I quite quickly bought a second hand Phil & Teds buggy for running and the second seat meant it could go out with boy smalls if necessary. The most I covered with double trouble was 7 (painful) miles but I did the full 10 miles with little miss.

I’d been running 2 months when we moved to Cornwall and it was then that my running life changed. On a whim I signed up for Truro Half Marathon on 17th September 2017. I’d covered 10 miles on 3 separate occasions so this was ‘just a parkrun’ more. It didn’t feel that way on the day that’s for sure!

I’d been running for just 12 weeks when I completed Truro in 2:43:57. The emotions I felt when I crossed that finish line was something I can’t even begin to explain. I’d run a Half Marathon! Me. The girl who didn’t run.

When we moved to Cornwall I joined JP Fitness and went along to 2 buggy friendly running sessions a week. I learned how to tackle hills (essential in Cornwall), correct form and most importantly – made friends. This is by far the best decision I ever made and made the move even further away from family that little bit easier.

Those cheap trainers didn’t last long and straight after Truro I could barely run a mile without pain. I went for gait analysis and came out £100 poorer but with properly fitted trainers – what a revelation! Great South Run was only a few weeks away and 10 flat miles would be easy in comparison to 13.1 miles of hellish hills. Except I never did do GSR. The day before I was due to leave for Portsmouth I rolled my ankle on a gentle 5k through Penrose and tore the ligaments. No running for me.

I was out for 3 weeks and just 5 weeks later raced again. This time it was a 5 mile road race and it felt so good to be back.

From here I just got stronger. January 2018 I set myself the challenge to run every day and had planned to run 6 half marathons in 2018. The first 13 days went really well. I felt strong and was improving every day. Then I broke my ankle.

6 weeks (and two cancelled races) later I was back. I took it easy, increased my miles slowly and in May ran Plymouth Half Marathon. My first race as part of team JP and a new PB! Despite the searing heat and niggling ankle pain I took 5 minutes of my time.

3 weeks later I travelled to Yeovil with 3 other JP ladies and ran Heron Half Marathon. Taking another 4 minutes off for another PB!

This year has been something else. It’s changed me so much and I can’t imagine my life without running. I run 4-5 times a week, own 3 pairs of trainers, 12 pairs of leggings and shorts in various lengths, 6 sports bras and numerous race tshirts and vests. I’m no longer on medication for depression, I’m fitter than I ever have been and I’m proud to be a positive role model for my children. But most importantly? I have a whole rack of bling now 😂

Best £50 I ever spent!!! Here’s to the next year …

Time for a rest

Sunday saw the completion of half marathon number 3 – Heron Half. A lovely flat, fast, course but this didn’t seem to help my performance. I managed to run the first 6.5 miles but after that I had to build in walking breaks. I used the race function on my tomtom to ensure I stayed within my target zone and completed the course with a new PB of 2:34:34 which was my goal.

It was hot, sticky and stuffy. Race prep involved deep heat, freeze spray and painkillers but it seemed to work. My ankle was uncomfortable rather than painful and a fetching pair of compression socks post race meant the swelling stayed away.

I now have just under 14 weeks until my next Half Marathon in Truro. This was my first Half Marathon so I want to make sure I’m on form and can beat last years time. It’s a very challenging course so it will be tough to beat this weekends PB but I’ll try. The next few weeks will see me drop my mileage right back down, focus on my diet and increase my strength and conditioning. I’m also hoping that next weeks sports massage will finally release the knots in my right calf and ‘fix’ the multitude of niggles I feel every time I run.

I have a long road ahead of me to Brighton 2019 but I have a plan. This is undoubtedly going to be a challenge but one I’m looking forward to.

A new goal

Now that I have returned to fitness following my broken ankle and completed my first Half Marathon of 2018 I am no longer an “injured runner”. This blog is no longer about my path to recovery but about something bigger. You see yesterday I did something which 12 months ago I would never have even considered doing. Yesterday I entered the Brighton Marathon 2019.

I’ve been running 11 months today. Clocked up numerous miles, and now have 2 Half Marathons under my belt with a further 3 booked for this year. With the Big 4-0 looming next May I decided it was the perfect time to set myself my ultimate goal. London would be incredible but the chances of winning a ballot place are so slim and there is no way I could raise enough money for a charity place with my current personal circumstances. So I’ve decided on Brighton. I’ve heard great things about it. It’s close to family so logistically as good as it’s going to get. It’s slap bang in the middle of Easter holidays meaning I will have time to recover before returning to work and with any luck my parents will have the children for a couple of days so hubby and I can build in a mini break too.

Having made this momentous decision I went out last night for my usual Friday club run. It was awful. I struggled through the first 1.6 miles but ended up calling it a day and walking back to the car in years. I have NEVER done this but it was an awful run. Nothing felt right. I couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t find my pace. My calf hurt which caused pain in my foot and I felt like I was wading through treacle. Not a good start to marathon training.

This morning I drew a line and set off for Parkrun. It wasn’t my fastest but it was infinitely better than last night and great starting point for my new journey. The first entry in my training diary. Next year, I’m running the Brighton Marathon and this is my training diary. Highs, lows and everything in between. A no holds barred document of my journey. Come follow me 🙂