Saturday, 24 March 2012

Old Lady Body

I'm going to start with the positives from this week: I ran. I managed 20 press ups and can now do almost 70 sit-ups in a row. I was under my calorie goal on My Fitness Pal despite eating chinese food and drinking beer. I also got some beautiful new trainers as a gift from baby Ruby on my first ever Mother's Day.

Unfortunately, these little nuggets of joy have been eclipsed by a new injury, much worse than the previous knee-gate. After a lovely run last week, I jarred my hip - a couple of painful days later I felt it click, and two days later it felt fine - good enough to run on (or so I thought). On Thursday, I set off planning to stick to a steady 3k - after just .5k it became apparent that it was not at all fine, but instead of stopping, cutting my losses and going home to rest, I was determined to see out the distance. I really wish I wasn't so bloody minded - not only was it incredibly painful, I couldn't concentrate on a decent route and my overall time was absolute garbage. 

Two days later and I am actually struggling to walk and my GP has referred me for an X-Ray. Bad times. The most annoying thing is that I clearly didn't learn from my previous mistake and went back out too early. Anyway, hopefully it isn't anything too serious - I had hoped to be on at least 25 miles by the end of this week - I would've been on schedule if it wasn't for my 90 year old body.

Moving on - I have a couple of exciting races planned so I'm just going to focus on some low impact cardio and strength exercises until I'm all fixed.

The first race is the Harrogate 10k on 22nd July - from the small amount of research I have done, it is a pretty tough course with steady inclines at the beginning but a fast final downhill mile. I imagine I'll end up windmilling over the finish line - but as long as it's sub 60 minutes I'll be happy.

On Monday 27th August, I'll be running the Whirlow 10k Trail Run, which is part of the Big Running Weekend. This will be my first trail run, and it promises to be a great little warm up to the Tough Mudder event. It will also make a nice change not to be either steaming drunk or feel like my brain is falling out of my arse, as is usually the case over August Bank Holiday weekend. I'm going to try and persuade the Twitter running collective to join me on this one - most of them live in Sheffield so there's no excuse really.

On that note, I have to say a big thank you to Emma and Andy for their lovely blog posts this week - if you haven't read them already, then take a look. Emma is ridiculously talented at making stuff - it's seriously amazing. If you can imagine it, she can make it - only better. Luckily, she is also helping me to re-design this blog, with a proper header and sexy new font, which I hope to have live by this time next week - exciting times!
Andy is running the London Marathon next month and his blog is inspiring stuff - full of ups and downs but always a dose of good humour - check it out.

Sam x

Sunday, 18 March 2012

A Moment on the Lips...

This week, I discovered My Fitness Pal, a useful (and addictive) little App which encourages you to log everything you eat, calculating the nutritional values and helping you to stick to a daily calorie goal. 

I've never been one to count calories - I've always been fairly happy with my size and have never owned a set of weighing scales - as far as I'm concerned, if I can do my jeans up straight from the wash without having to roll around on the floor too much then it's all good. 

Since having Ruby and embarking on this challenge, things have changed slightly. I am a lot more aware of what I am putting into my body knowing that Ruby will eventually be eating the same, albeit in a slightly different format, and I have also been doing a bit of reading up on nutrition and sport - it turns out that you really do get out what you put in. Bloody clich├ęs.

So, one week into the food diary: I'd like to say it was painstaking, but it really wasn't - the App holds nutritional info for pretty much every product you can think of, so it's really simple. At the end of each day it will tell you whether you are over or under your calorie goal, and what weight this would make you by your target date. 

What makes it really interesting is that it also gives you consumption targets for vitamins and minerals - something I just assumed would be easily achieved. At the end of week one, I have fallen off my homemade pedestal after a series of startling results: 9% Iron, 22% Calcium and just 6% Vitamin A. This is bad times. A lack of iron leads to fatigue, weakness and irritability, as well as affecting the uptake of vitamin A. Bearing in mind I only achieved 6% of my Vitamin A target, this is not ideal. On to Calcium; depriving yourself of the recommended amount can lead to Osteoporosis and something called 'Bone Spurs'. Sounds fun, but it's really not - when the body lacks Calcium, it starts to leach it from your bones, usually through your heels, leading to to little explosions, not dissimilar to volcanic eruptions. Bork. 

Worryingly, I also consumed 95g too much sugar. I am blaming this on an addiction to Milky Bar desserts, but in reality, a lot of the sugar is contained in my morning cereal. 

This week, I'm going to make a real effort to cut down on the sugar and up the vitamin/Calcium content to see if it makes any difference to my energy levels. 

Sam x

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Back in the Game!

After a fairly dreadful start to the week, I have definitely finished on a high. I developed a nasty sore throat/cough/migraine combination which, coupled with my poorly knee left me unable to exercise at all. I think it was my body's way of telling me to chill out for a few days and not rush back into things; rendering me almost unconscious for a few days certainly did the trick.

I won't lie, I was absolutely dreading my first run back (I haven't been out for almost two weeks). I tried lying to myself and feigning excitement but I knew that those two weeks would pretty much take me back to the beginning, which was utterly soul destroying. The first couple of weeks are the hardest. Well, they were for me - I had no rhythm or sense of improvement, but I did have bucket-loads of enthusiasm, which I tried to muster before heading out.

I had to force myself out of the door when my alarm went off at 7am - only the knowledge that more people would see me breathlessly stumbling around if I waited until 8am spurred me on. I had already decided that 3k would be plenty for a first visit back - 5k was too ambitious and I didn't want to beat myself up for not hitting target. It was really tough but the .5k markers on my Nike+ really helped, as did my route, which was slightly downhill on the way back. I made 3.23k in 18'14. 

I was pretty stunned when I converted everything to miles - I'd run two miles, averaging 9'04 per mile. No wonder I couldn't breathe - my previous PB for a mile was 9'29. So I felt pretty smug. I'm sure that if I'd pushed for the extra mile my average would've dropped to way past my PB time, but as a first jaunt out after two weeks of feeing like I'd just been dug up, I was very happy.

Lesson learnt - allow your body adequate time to rest. So, while I was itching to get out this morning, I am now allowing myself a rest day every other day. On these days, I'm working on strength by doing the 100 Push Up and 200 Sit Up Challenges. I was able to start on week three of the Sit Up Challenge, but have the upper body strength of a flaccid octopus, so began the Push Up element firmly on week one. 10 push ups is excruciating, so if I can do 100 in a row after just six weeks I'll be very happy (and surprised). I have added a Squat Challenge into this, which is the same as the sit ups, along with 200 cross body punches in squat position. It burns like a bitch.

 Tomorrow, we are heading over to Bolton Abbey so I can do some interval training (as recommended by the lovely Mira). Hopefully there won't be too many people around to laugh at me attempting to sprint up a hill - must remember my mantra; dead last finish beats did not finish, which trumps did not start. Least I'll be working for my big, fat Mother's Day lunch :-)

Sam x

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Still Waiting...

Day 9 of no running and I'm in a really bad mood. I'm going to start concentrating on strength and ab work so I feel like I'm not going backwards - anything to stop myself feeling guilty about my new Wagon Wheel addiction. It's strange that when I'm training, I have no desire at all to eat sweet things, but when I'm sat at home moping around all I can think about is carbs. Carbface.

So, other than a sit-up and press-up competition with the OH later (he thinks I can't do 50 sit-ups in a row - I actually have abs of steel under the baby chubbs), I have nothing new to report. Instead, I thought it would be fun (in a tortuous way) to look at the different obstacles we could be facing along the course in November. 

The event will take place at Cholmondeley Castle on 17th & 18th November. Team RAW will be competing on the Sunday, so if you fancy a giggle then head down and give us a cheer. Pompoms will be provided. We also need an official photographer who can  help us out with some press-worthy snaps of us at various points, so if you fancy yourself as a bit of a Demarchelier, let me know.

Having looked at the course map, it would appear the first obstacle isn't really an obstacle after all:

1. Braveheart Charge - charge into battle with 5,000 other Mudders. Battle cries essential. 

I have a problem with situations like this - my adrenaline goes into overdrive and I get really jumpy. It's the main reason I'll never go paintballing again - some strange feeling came over me last time and I ended up charging at people screaming like a banshee and popping them in the face with the paintballing equivalent of an AK47. They were on the same team. The RAF really did have a narrow miss (I nearly joined up in 2000).

Anyway, it's the first in a series of 27 over the 12 miles. You'll be pleased to know they get much, much more tricky. Yay.

Sam x

Friday, 9 March 2012

Big Mistake. Huge.

Ahhh, nothing quite beats the feeling you get when you realise you've monumentally cocked something up. I realised this on Monday after half an hour of Jillian Michaels busting my balls while I pranced around my parents' living room to a series of embarrassingly difficult cardio moves. 
It was a rookie mistake - I had rested my knee for a couple of days and was feeling guilty for not running. It was still a little painful but instead of taking the advice of seasoned running pro's and resting it, I cracked on with a bit of Shred
Anyway, four days later and it's still not right - stupid knee of doom.

To try and feed my new running addiction while I'm out of action, I went into Up & Running in Harrogate to look at all the pretty running shoes. The very helpful man told me to go back when my knee is a little bit better and I can have a pop on the swanky treadmill - apparently it will tell me all that is wrong with my feet so they can recommend the right trainers. I have my eye on a really cute pair of New Balance 749s, but he assured me that the right pair for me would undoubtedly be the ugliest pair in the shop - because life is a bit of a shit like that. I appreciated his honesty but it left a slightly sour taste - taking the (giant) leap from fashion to functionality might be a little more tricky than I first thought.

After test-running this blog out on a couple of regular runners, it was brought to my attention that I haven't actually mentioned the charity we will be raising money for during our training for Tough Mudder. It seems even more apt and very much close to home after the recent untimely deaths of six servicemen in Afghanistan. Help for Heroes is a great charity which supports wounded members of our armed forces on their return to civilian life, and the whole Raw team is thrilled to be able to show our appreciation in this small way.

When our team entry is finalised we'll be creating a JustGiving page where donations can be made if anyone would like to. The event is still quite a way away though and I'm sure most people will want to see a bit more blood, sweat and tears on my part before they let the moths out of their wallets.

Sam x

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Day of Rest

Today I rested my jolted knee in the hope that I will be able to run tomorrow, so have spent a lot of the day reading from #running, getting jealous about the miles everyone has been clocking up and comparing my relatively slow times to theirs. I've also been hugely inspired by Bangs and a Bun; she started running just a year and a half ago and has since completed some serious runs, most recently today's Paris Half Marathon. In four weeks she heads to Berlin for theirs. I have followed her journey from her first run, so it is great comfort to know that if I am dedicated enough, I could be where she is now - celebrating in an awesome city with a sparkly new medal. And yes, that is important.

I have also been putting a little bit of thought into why I performed better on the treadmill - I suppose for a long-time runners the reason is obvious - pacing and timing. I am not great at pacing myself, setting off quickly and fading fast before completing my run at a snail's pace. On the treadmill I can keep it constant, my mile time fluctuating by a couple of seconds at the most. My conclusion is that I should probably try and spend a little more time in the gym, just to practice running at a constant pace. This pains me - I hate gyms and the thought of spending any amount of time (let alone money) in them fills me with dread. But I am determined to crack this running malarkey whatever it takes - I just wish their was a Pure Gym in Harrogate - all the ones here are so expensive, it would actually be cheaper to just buy a treadmill, if I had somewhere to put one.

Lastly, as ongoing motivation, I have persuaded my OH to run the Harrogate 10k with me in July. A really good benchmark to reach by the midway point of my training. Bring it on!

Sam x

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Brick Wall

So, today I was hoping to be able to write a happy post, but unfortunately my body has other ideas!
Last week, Nicole and I ran the Harrogate Park Run for the first time. If you haven't encountered Park Run before, then you should definitely check it out - it's a free event set up by a group of seriously dedicated running enthusiasts - their aim? To raise awareness of how great running is, the camaraderie involved and most of all just to get people doing it.

Anyway, we started the race full of trepidation - neither of us had run a Park Run before, and prior to our group training session, it had been some nine years since I had run at all (except when I was late for a bus). To be honest, we weren't great, finishing 152 out of 160 runners. But we really didn't care - the fact that we had actually hauled our asses out of bed for 9am on a Saturday and run around the park for three miles is testament to our dedication to the cause - especially as Nicole even body swerved her regular Friday night booze-up.

My plan from then was to include the Park Run in my weekly training schedule - their barcode system allows you to record your time and monitor progression on a weekly basis, something which I definitely need in order to keep myself motivated. This weekend, I am visiting my parents up here in Inverness, so I was hoping to run the Park Run up here, however, I jolted my knee on the treadmill yesterday and have had to give it a miss.

One of the things I have been thinking about is my footwear - this will be the first time I will buy a pair of shoes for their practical functionality rather than for their prettiness (although I'm hoping I can keep an element of this). My lovely friend, Emma has just had special insoles made for her running shoes at the Sweatshop in Meadowhall, which will support her knees more. I'm starting to think that if I'm going to be putting 750 miles in between now and November, I'd better look at investing as well.

I'm pretty gutted to be honest - I know there's no harm in missing one session, but I had worked hard on my runs all week, finishing with a PB time of 9'27 mi yesterday on the treadmill, so was pretty fired up. 

Inverness is just beautiful though, so fingers crossed if I rest up today and perhaps tomorrow, I can head out on a circuit of my own and work on that 5k time.

Sam x