Friday, 10 June 2016

Reflections on a Friday

Is it Friday already? This week has vanished. Probably because I've spent part of my time in Glasgow and part in Manchester. The weather has been brilliant so I've also spent a lot of time outside sunning myself which has been great and unexpected!

Monday morning was productive. I caught up with some life admin outside in the garden, and somehow ended up being convinced to get a new iPad! My IT situation has not been great recently so it was actually quite a good thing that I contacted Three mobile. I'm now typing from my new IPad Air 2 and loving it! I was in work for the afternoon on Friday. When I came home I did a quick insanity workout and then got ready to do the drive back to Scotland. I was visiting home for a couple of days as I had tickets to see Coldplay at Hamden, (pictures later)

Tuesday was another brilliant day weather wise. I got myself down to my local park and ran round the manmade loch. It was beautiful. There were loads of people out keeping fit, walking dogs or maybe having a quick coffee break.l

I ran 3.7 miles in just under 37 minutes. I did feel as though I was going a little slow but I haven't been running that much over the last week or so because I wanted to rest my knee and I've had a cold. So hopefully it will be feeling easier again soon. After my run I came home and made a slimming world friendly and protein heavy breakfast.

I tried to cut as much fat off the bacon as I could. I put some tomatoes through my scrambled egg for extra flavour and then sat outside to enjoy the sunshine. I had some company though....

Since I had the day off I cooked dinner for everyone before we headed out to the Coldplay gig. I made chilli using a slimming world recipe on Pinterest. I've only just recently got into pin test and it's so good for finding echoes etc. 

It seemed to go down a treat with everyone.

After dinner we headed to Hamden for the Coldplay gig. I've got to say I think it is possibly the best gig I have ever been at. This how was spectacular and the music sounded even better live.

On Wednesday I had loads of people to visit. I saw one of my uni friends and we took a lovely walk down by the Clyde. I then visited my cousin to meet her new baby who is just so so cute! I caught a little sunshine with my parents and then started the journey back to Manchester. There was an accident on the M6 which added a little bit of time to the journey but nothing too bad. I was tempted to get a takeaway by the time I got in but I decided to make some pasta instead which was more slimming world friendly (apart from the cheese). I had a long day yesterday so I didn't have time to do much else with my day. I didn't get in from work until 1.30am so I had a long lie until around 10 this morning. I'm due back in this afternoon so I better go and get ready! 

It's been a good week this week in terms of socialising and seeing friends, family and the sun! Ideally I would have liked to have fitted in more exercise but it's just how it goes sometimes. I think I've eaten reasonably well so the aim is to keep that up over the weekend and avoid too much wine!

Have a good weekend! 

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Post Marathon Blues and June Goals

It's now over a month since I ran the London Marathon. The first few weeks after a marathon are tricky for a number of reasons. Mainly because getting up and down stairs and sitting on the toilet seat are very difficult to do in the first couple of days. Suddenly I'm very aware of how much I take my able body for granted! Although after that I feel quite a loss. It can be a bit of an anti-climax. I find myself not sure what to aim for and not sure what to do with my Saturday mornings. It is nice not to feel the pressure of training and it is nice to just run for fun or go to the gym because I feel like it. However, mostly I've found myself a bit down-in-the-dumps. I genuinely think post-marathon depression is a real thing. I imagine however it's the same feeling after any big event that you have put a lot of effort and planning to for example a wedding, or a party or a big holiday. I imagine once it's over people feel the same way. My personality is certainly one that requires goals and mini projects to work on, however I need to remember that rest is also important. You cannot be going 100mph all of the time. I'm beginning to feel much more motivated now and much more positive about things. I think this heatwave is helping!

So what have I done over the last few weeks?

I tried my first parkrun! For anyone who doesn't know, Parkrun is an organisation run by volunteers. It provides free timed 5ks on Saturday mornings in parks across the UK. I really think it is a great idea. It gives you a small goal without the pressure of a race and without a hefty entrance fee. All you do is registered on the website and await an email with a link to your own personal barcode. You can then attend any event throughout the UK as long as you bring along your barcode for scanning when you cross the finish line. The barcode must be printed out as they do not have the facilities to scan from electronic devices.  The address to the website is below.

My right knee has been bothering me a little after the marathon so I've been running short distances and in fact over the last week I've completely rested it. I think though it's feeling better and I might be ready to try another run this week.

I've also had a hen do in the last month which was absolutely fantastic. One of my best friends from school is getting married at the end of July. We hired out a big house with hot tubs and lovely grounds and just had a laugh for the weekend. It was great to spend some quality time together. Life gets so busy and I think it might be over a year since my 3 school friends and I were all together at the same time. I'm now so excited for the wedding itself although I still need to find a dress!

Work has been quite busy too. Towards the end of each academic year I need to go through an appraisal process and my portfolio is reviewed. I've had quite a bit of work to do for that. So it's been a busy few weeks despite me feeling a little down.

However, I have so much to look forward to in the next few weeks. I'm going to see Coldplay this week which I'm pretty excited about. I've also just booked a holiday to Basel in Switzerland and from what I can see in Pinterest it looks amazing. Alsoooooooo, (this is pretty big news) I'm moving out of my current flat and moving in with my boyfriend for the first time. So I'll be busy flat hunting over the next few weeks. I change job in August and I have my friend's wedding in July. I can't really complain can I?

I've decided on top of all this that I should set myself some healthy/fitness/lifestyle goals for June to keep me on my toes.

1. I would like to try to run 30 miles this month, which doesn't sound like a lot but I'm just trying to build up slowly with my knee troubles
2. I'm getting back on track with my healthy eating so I'm going to aim to eat "slimming world friendly". I love their recipes it's just the syns I have trouble sticking with!
3. I want to de-clutter! This will help with the moving process anyway but by the end of the month I want to have gone through my wardrobe and donated what I don't wear to charity.
4. I want to read a book! This sounds simple but I have no many books I want to read and I just don't. I need to set aside time for this. My boyfriend is an avid reader so I need to keep up with him.

I think if I achieve all of this over the next month I'll be pleased.

I might actually go and make a start on one of my books now.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

The London Marathon 2016

I set my alarm for 7am. I hadn't had the best sleep so when the alarm went off I was actually quite glad just to get up. I had organised all of my things the night before so there wasn't much to do. I ate first and then got ready.

Tea and toast - breakfast of champions ;)

Once I got ready it was time for pictures! 

Somehow the time seemed to vanish and I ended up feeling stressed about time. The race started at 10am but we only got to the start line for around 9.30am. I still had to sort my baggage and get to the toilet! At least though there wasn't much hanging about in the cold before the start. 

It wasn't long until I was walking towards the start line and then the race got underway! My legs actually felt quite heavy at the start. I don't think all the walking I did on Saturday helped very much. The start was very busy. Unfortunately a lot of people were walking from the start so it was difficult to get by. My pace was around 11minute miles which was what I was aiming for. My first goal was to get to 10k and then my next goal was 11miles which is where I knew I would see my boyfriend's family. It was a real boost to see them. Not long after that I knew I was close to going over tower bridge which is just before halfway. That was my next mini goal. Going over tower bridge was amazing. I took my earphones out just to listen to the crowds. I couldn't help but smile as I was going 
across. I think it was maybe just before tower bridge that my battery on my watch started to go down quicker than I expected. There wasn't much I could do about it. I just started to take note of my time on the official clocks but I new once it was gone I would have no idea of my pace. 

The next few miles are a bit of a blur. I just remember getting to 16 miles at 3hours and wondering how I got there. It seemed like it had gone by quickly. Although things changed between 16-20 miles. My pace really dropped. However, I decided it was best not to stop and just keep going really slowly. My watch cut out I think around 20 miles and thennnnn my phone cut out at 21 which meant no music!!!!! At that point I did stop and walk to try and see what had happened and then I realised it had completely cut out. I tried not to get too upset about this and be happy that it hadn't cut out any sooner in the race. I knew that. By boyfriend's family were going to be watching at around 23 miles so I just tried to focus on getting there and listening to the crowds. I saw them at 23 and again it was a real boost. The crowds really lifted me at this point they were so supportive. By the time I got to 25 
I'm not going to lie when I say I was struggling. I was going by amazing sights like Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament but I couldn't take it in. I could only focus on putting one foot in front of the other.  

I saw the "600m to go" sign and tears started to come, partly because I was so a happy I was close to the end and also because 600m seemed like a really long way at this point. I saw Buckingham palace and then finally the finish line came into view and those tears started to flow a bit more! And finally after 5hours and 22 mins I crossed with finish line.

It was a personal best for me so I was happy even although I had hoped that I would get closer to 5hours.

It was so busy at the end but I finally found the rest of the gang. We had a little picnic in the park 
before heading straight to the pub for a pint! Beer never tasted so good. We then went for food later on.

I've just been resting and recovering since. My legs are in inlay feeling normal again so I think I will try running again soon. 

I almost don't know what to do with myself now that the marathon is over. I will need to find my next project.
At 11 miles

At 23 miles 

Official time

With our medals :)

Sunday, 24 April 2016

The Road to London 2016

It's finally here!!! It's marathon weekend. I'm travelling to London today which means I will get to enjoy the atmosphere before the big day itself.
I was pretty much organised this morning.  I just had a few last minute things to do like feed my hamster (my flatmate will look after her over the weekend) and tidy my room. I think I quadruple checked that I had my registration form and my trainers. Anything else I can sort when I'm there if I've forgotten it.
I picked up a few snacks from Marks and Spencers once I got to Picadilly station.
Once we got to London we went straight to the expo to collect our running numbers. It's the first expo I've been to before a marathon I've also been running in. There were loads of stalls and charities there. There were also some guest speakers including Kelly Holmes and Sue Thearle who were interesting to listen to and in a way polar opposites. It is amazing all the different people who decide to run a marathon. It's certainly not just for elite runners which made me feel a bit better!

The also had a board on which you could write your reason for running the marathon.

We managed to see Kelly Holmes at the expo. She is so tiny, I never realised from watching her on t.v.

They had a large map of the route at the lucozade stand which made me feel slightly nervous!

This was Sue from bbc sport giving us her top tips.

We then snacked on some olives and chips in the afternoon and finally headed to my boyfriend's brother's house. They were excellent hosts and cooked pasta for us. Yum! On Saturday we went for breakfast to a lovely place called Tanner & co in Bermondsey. I got some fancy eggs and mushrooms and green tea.

Afterwards we walked to Tower Bridge which was stunning. We saw the 20k mark - just before halfway.

We went to a food market in the afternoon which was so busy! 

I finally got all my bits and pieces together in the afternoon before heading to an Italian for dinner.

And now suddenly we are on the morning of race day. Good luck to everyone running. See you at the finish!

Thursday, 7 April 2016

17 days to go

I'm now into the Marathon countdown phase. I had a holiday planned with friends for 5 days which was not ideal timing. I returned home on Monday and I felt tired and I felt as though a cold was coming on. I have known about this trip for a while so I accepted that I would not get much training done. I managed one run while I was away which was better than nothing. I probably ate too much and drank too much but it's been so long since I've seen them I decided I would enjoy myself. I don't see my friends as much as I used to which is sad.

I am now in full health kick mode in a bid to get myself marathon ready. I went shopping yesterday and stocked up on loads of fruit, veg, fish, nuts and some healthy snacks. I need to feel my absolute best over these next few weeks.

Today I made myself a rather exotic breakfast. I had "Green Smoothie". This was my own recipe. I used kale, one apple, a handful of spinach, lime juice and a dash of water and the mixed it all up. I also had porridge sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.
I then sorted out some things for work and did a bit of cleaning in the flat. I got up pretty late so by 1pm I was still not hungry for lunch so I went to the gym. I did a hill session on the treadmill and then cycled for 30 mins. After that I went into the steam room to try and get rid of my cold. By the time I came out I was starving. I came home and snacked on some rice cakes with philadelphia and smoked salmon. Yum!
This song came on while I was in the gym and I think it is one of my favourite songs right now. It is such a good workout song. Give it a listen!! I promise you it will motivate you! 

For dinner I had some pasta, tuna and sweetcorn which i'm afraid I don't have a picture of but I was too hungry! I'm spending the evening chilling out and watching the Masters and ensuring I keep myself well hydrated.
What is your favourite workout song? 

Long Run Recap

I'm finally nearing the end of my training for the London Marathon. On Saturday my plan is to do my final long run of 20 miles. I feel the long runs are the most important part of my training. Juggling marathon training with a job and a social life can be difficult at times. So I focus on keeping active and running a few nights a week and then ensuring that I get my long run in at the weekend. I've noticed that in general I get the miles done, but some runs feel a lot better than others and usually it is to do with my mind. Some of the best runs I've had have been when I've actually been tired mentally. For example, I did a run after a nightshift the last time I was training for a marathon and it was one of my fastest training runs. My mind was tired after working 12 hours and I didn't want to think about anything, I just knew I wanted to get the miles done so I just settled into it quite quickly. This year I did a 15 mile run after being out for dinner the night before and I felt tired in the morning and again I just got the run done. I think sometimes when my mind is too active I have the energy to thenthink about what i'm actually doing and how much I have run and how far I still have to go and it makes the run seem so much more difficult. I need to focus on the day on NOT thinking about that. I need to just zone out and put one foot in front of the other.

Here is a run down of my long runs for the London Marathon.

23/1/16 6 miles 62 mins
06/2/16 8 miles 1hr 23 mins
13/2/16 10 miles 1hr 54 mins
20/2/16 12 miles 2 hours
29/2/16 13.2 miles 2 hrs 19 mins
05/3/15 9.1 miles 1hr 34 mins
12/3/16 15 miles 2hrs 43 mins
19/3/16 18 miles 3hrs 15 mins
25/3/16 10 miles 1 hr 46 mins

I have been reasonably consistent this year with my long runs. I've been sticking to doing them every Saturday morning. I think out of that lot my best runs have been the 12 mile run and the 15 mile run. I found the 18 mile run difficult. I became very aware of my time and I did stop to walk at one point.

The thing is, I know that I can do the distance. I've done two full marathons before so I know i'm capable of it. I just get very bogged down when i'm out there by myself. Thankfully this weekend my boyfriend is going to run the first 10 with me. I think that will help to break the run down in my mind. It doesn't seem so hard to do two lots of 10.

The good thing about picking this weekend to do my 20 mile run is that I have an excuse to sit around and watch T.V. the rest of the time. The Masters is on!!!

Have a good weekend!

Do you like watching golf?
How to you keep your mind on the straight and narrow during a long run?

Monday, 14 March 2016

Running Improvements

I spent Saturday afternoon running 15 miles.  The first 12 felt really good. I was running at a comfortable pace and felt like I was in a good rhythm. I really don't like running carrying water. So I ran by my flat for a water stop at mile 12. 12 might be a bit much without water but psychologically I like to make the stop at the flat quite late in the run. The final three however was really tough. I felt like I had completely seized up. My legs felt so heavy. When I finally stopped at 15 my legs immediately felt pretty sore.

I immediately started to have all sorts of negative thoughts. "How am I supposed to run another 11 miles to complete the marathon when I feel like this after 15!?"

I go through this every time I train for a marathon. In my mind it just seems like I can't do it however I always do and I have run 2 marathons before. I somehow manage to forget these important facts. Tonight however, i'm feeling much better about things. I just uploaded my data from my garmin and I started to look back over my training runs from previous marathons and here are my results.

2013 15.8 miles 3 hours 8  mins
2015 16.0 miles 3 hours 10 mins
2016 15.0 miles 2 hours 43 mins

I'm actually amazed by my improvements. When i'm running it always feels hard, but i'm obviously just naturally getting quicker over time. It is so useful to keep a record of training for this purpose. I was being so negative about my run on Saturday and yet i'm so much quicker than my previous training.

After my run on Saturday I just chilled out and went for a nice meal. I had a rest day on Sunday. Tonight I got my running shoes back on and did another 7 miles. My legs felt a little tired but it was actually a really nice run. The sun was out and spring was in the air.

I don't start work until the afternoon tomorrow. So i'm going to switch things up a little and head to the gym for a bit of cross training.