Getting me through…

As you may already be aware, I’m running the Edinburgh Marathon for Maggie’s Centres. Everyone is aware of the Research based charities set up to fund the search for a cure for Cancer, but few consider what is required for those battling the disease, or their loved ones.

On Saturday, I was invited to attend a training day at their Edinburgh Centre. In the grounds of the Western General, a beautiful, warm environment welcomes anyone affected directly or indirectly by any form of Cancer. They do truly amazing work. It costs £2400 PER DAY to keep the centre running. So if I can raise half that, I’ll be thrilled.

Joel Enoch (British Triathlete and Iron Man) was there to examine our running technique and give us tonnes of advice on race prep (note: I’ve started calling it a race now…) nutrition and recovery. He also talked us through motivation and ways that we can push ourselves to train harder for longer and eventually complete the Marathon. 

I’m going to share a video he showed us with you. If you are training for an event, or just feeling a bit shit about stuff, I defy you not to be moved by this.

This is the story of Jamie. A young guy from America, who broke his neck on a submerged sandbank after jumping off a boat. Here is his journey. (Be warned. It’s INCREDIBLY moving)  

Pretty strong stuff, eh?

So. That’s the motivation. There’s many millions of people in the world fighting bigger battles than me.

But…. I can HELP. my legs are still good. I can still walk, run, stagger and crawl and as long as I can do those things, I will help raise cash for people who are fighting.

Music is also a massive motivator for me. I have VERY diverse taste and find different types of solace from different types of music.

I figured I’d share my current playlist with you on the off chance if provides some form of inspiration.

Sub Focus – Tidal Waves

If I’m struggling this one helps me get my pace back. It’s best LOUD.

Avicii – Adicted to You

Love this. Properly love it. Again, if I’m struggling this one pulls me out of the rut.

Coldplay – Every Tear

One of my most treasured songs.

Biffy Clyro – Biblical

Because Biffy. And Scottish.

Jay Z – 99 Problems

Takes me back to uni days and memorising the lyrics. I can zone out completely. This is a good one for when the pain kicks in.

Rammstein – Sonne

Absolute Belter. And another nostalgic one.

So now you can all judge my taste in music (let it be known that this is now wholly representative…) …

Injury status: acupuncture and physio last night for hip in prep for 14 miles on Thursday

#Bringiton

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13.1 – Baby’s First 1/2 Marathon

“If you’re going to run 12.5 miles, you might as well run 13.1” – GinnieBean  – 16.03.14 

Lucky you. You get a bonus blog this week as a significant milestone has been met. 

Hydration: 750ml water with 1 x SiS Soluble Electrolyte & Carb tablet (summer fruits…), 2 High5 Energy Gels. Both rank.

I started out fine and realised after 2 miles that I’d forgotten to take my Ibuprofen and hadn’t brought any with me. This meant that I had to start pain-prevention techniques from 4 miles as my hips were beginning to tighten. My pain prevention technique utilises Pilates breathing to enable me to visualise muscles relaxing and joints loosening. All a bit hippy sounding but quite effective. Essentially, breathe strength in, breathe the pain OUT. 

At mile 5, having spent the previous miles working hard to “not think about anything” and just visualise finishing the Marathon, (it’s hard to do that…) I had a really fucking good cry. Proper sobs. I’d accidentally veered into the “who am I doing this for” chapter. Therefore I had to stop because 1. I couldn’t breathe regularly and 2. I looked like a mental. So I decided I’d think only about happy things i.e. that first Gin and Tonic after finishing the marathon. That kept me going for a while…

A little walking was required at miles 5, 7 (half way stretch) and 8 for energy gels. I was running into headwinds virtually the whole way. Energy gels are best consumed at walking speed in those conditions due to the risks of spillage. And no one likes a face-full (am-I-Right, ladies??).

Because I can’t get it out my head, I feel I should write down who I’m doing this for. Which might be a bit emosh, so soz and that…

Mum.

Brave, funny, strong Mum. Who’s fought and beaten many things. Who’s supported, cheered, loved and nurtured me and my incredibly talented sister for our whole lives. Who’s stepped back and let us make ridiculous mistakes. Who didn’t judge when we made them. Who got up and kept going when the shit hit the fan. Who is giving me weekly Bowen treatments to keep me strong and agile. My absolute hero. 

Granny

She gave me my love of clothing, which ultimately led me to my career. She gave me my middle name. She gave me decent eyebrows and a fiercely opinionated streak. She also told me that whatever I wanted to achieve, not to ever let anything or anyone stand in my way. She fought bravely, and with dignity. She taught me to be strong.

Grandad

He loved my Granny from the age of 14. He taught me how to see the best in people. How to be patient (well he TRIED to teach me patience). How to work hard to be successful. A real life hero, who was awarded an MBE and continued to do amazing things for charities and his community until he passed away. Everyone who met him loved him. He taught me how to be a good person. 

Sean

My sister’s best friend and the man she is going to marry. Brave, strong and hilarious. A truly amazing gent who had to experience something no twentysomething should ever have to. A truly ace guy who I’m thrilled to be getting as a brother. 

John

A dear friend who spent many happy and ridiculously funny hours teaching me card games in such a fashion that I could never beat him. My sister’s god father. Father to 3 amazing women and husband to my Godmother. A man who fought with such an incredibly positive attitude. He lived his life to the absolute full. An inspiration. 

 

Can you see why I was crying so much? All I could picture was my mum telling me to get a grip and MAN UP!!!

Until next week, when I will be thinking ONLY of gin.

 

Laterz x

Lessons learned.

Here are 3 important things what I have learnt this week.

Fitness is dangerous.

Picture the scene: I’m home from a run. It’s shower time. I try to remove my sports bra (Shockabsorber Run Bra) and one of the hooks gets caught.

It’s racer back. Which, fellas, means that I cannot get my arms out by slipping the straps over my shoulders. You go in head first.

I end up with one arm
stuck and the other powerless.

I consider calling for help.

I have to have a lie down and a word with myself.

Eventually, and I’m still unsure how, I get myself out.

I was shaking for about an hour afterwards.

See,kids?

Sport is dangerous.

Running is better with a friend than with your own thoughts.

I’ve been on short runs with friends but nothing more than 6 miles. Truth be told I’m worried I’ll realise that actually I’m shit and useless.

Turns out I’m not. I chatted quite comfortably until mile 7 when I got a stitch (random??!!) and then had to get her to tell me stories for a bit until I regulated my breathing.

Nutrition

I learned a big lesson with nutrition this week.

Usually, when I run, I eat within half an hour of getting home. It’s hard as I want to make sure I stretch enough but half an hour seems to be my cut off before I start getting dizzy and crabbit. I hydrate with electrolyte/carb drink en route and usually have a light snack before I go.

I don’t really get hungry until mile 9. So far anyway.

This week, I got home and for whatever reason, decided I’d do fucking HOUSEWORK. This meant it was over an hour before I ate.

Within 20 minutes of finishing French Toast, I was dizzy, sick and STARVING.

Boyfriend had to feed me noodles to get my blood sugar back up. Properly shit.

And THEN I managed not to eat a single carb on Tuesday. For no other reason than I had no time and I’m a bit of a pleb. So as soon as I got out I was in trouble. I couldn’t run through the niggles. I had indigestion. I wanted to vomit.

Not cool.

I also sampled an energy gel this week. Which has horrid consistency. They will need getting used to…

This Sunday will be 12.5 miles and the start of big mile building.

Bring it.

Transformations

I’ve met all my running targets this week which is a first. Plus 5 miles on two nights and 10 miles today.

My shin pain has improved following a second treatment and continued ankle strengthening.

This week on my distance run I had a friend come along who kept me talking which finally showed me that I can run consistently. A bit of a boost, really.

I’m starting to understand how I’m changing both physically and mentally.

Physically I am stronger, leaner and less achy (FINALLY THANK YOU, LEGS) and my lungs no longer burn after a run. I have been on a mission to shift an annoying 4lbs this week and definitely felt the benefit on my ankles today. This is something I will do in preparation for the marathon in May.
My physical pain levels are changing too. Shin pain faded and made way for my right hip to crush my hopes and dreams by seizing and causing some real issues deep into the joint. Hoping a date with my foam roller will effectively iron that out.

Mentally I feel more confident. And more and more like I might be able to push myself to do this. A friend and IronMan asked me if I feel proud of what I’ve achieved so far. I’m not really sure. On a good day I’m high as a kite and I am so amazed at my inner strength and how I’m pushed through all the mental and physical barriers so far. I have to keep reminding myself that less than a year ago, running an actual mile was an impossibility for me. I’ve come from nothing.

If you’re reading this, and you’ve started from scratch too, just remember that.

Tomorrow brings a no-doubt achy train journey to Glasgow for work. But also means I get to visit Greaves (my favourite sports shop) and look at replacing my tired old Asics…

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Mum’s Healing Hands

Since last Sunday, I’ve been on a rest week. This wasn’t in my plan and it was hard to actually force myself not to run and to rest my shin.

The doctor diagnosed a simple sprain to my Posterior Tibialis. No shin splints yet but a high probability of developing them over the coming weeks. She has recommended me for sports physio but admitted it could take weeks to be seen and by that point I’ll be well on my way towards the marathon. So I’ve been told to continue training, but listen to my body and at the first sign of injury, rest, ice and cross-train only until the pain subsides.

I went straight from the doc’s to the gym where I bashed out an hours worth of Cross-Trainer time (5 miles and 6584ft climbed) and felt fab. Resting did me the world of good.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned so far in my blogs, that my mum is a qualified Bowen and MLD practitioner who also does Reflexology. You can read about these and her other therapies by clicking here. If you’re training for an event, I suggest you find someone as talented because she has helped me NO end. If you are based in central Scotland, and could use some pain relief or pain management, give her a ring.

Mum has been doing her research and worked out that the pain I’m experiencing in my Posterior Tibialis is caused by me turning my left ankle inwards at an angle to my leg as I run. This means that my left ankle and Post Tib muscles are not strong enough to take the impact of the ground yet. Here is a link to a video that explains this issue.

And here is a link to a site that gives you stretches that help strengthen these muscles. I will be doing these A LOT.

Mum had also watched a video by a physio in America who has developed a technique for relieving pain in the PosTib by easing out the Quadratus Lumborum in/above the hip. We tried this technique out last night and it made an immediate difference not just to my pain level, but to the strength of the leg against resistance, and also to my foot placement and posture. Again, I will be using this technique throughout my training.

This morning (Sunday again), I awoke to a light scattering of cloud and sunshine and I was READY.

Following a week of no running, and an hours worth of work on my legs by my mum, I decided I’d work on speed a bit and intersperse with a minutes walking every 3-4 miles.

I set off and spent the first mile trying to concentrate on my left ankle’s movement. However this was slowing me down too much and I had to abandon this. Luckily, there was little to no pain in my leg which is a marked improvement.

I sailed through 5k, 10k and then approached 15k. By mile 9, my right hip and knee were getting tight and my left Quad was a bit twingy. I stopped for a quick stretch and then paced a decent last mile.

Looking at my splits on Strava, I am now averaging 10.5 minutes per mile. Which is far above my predicted marathon pace. I’m not going to get complacent though, today was a good day. There will be sucky days too. ( which reminds me of a quote my pal Dougie mentioned this week. “Embrace the Suck”. Love it!)

I even managed to get mile 5 and 6 at exactly the same time. (10:43) This is a first!

In terms of fuel, I’d had a small piece of toast with Peanut Butter about an hour before setting off, and I hydrated with 650ml of water with a citrus High5 Tablet dissolved in it. This makes it tasty and gives me a carb/sugar/electrolyte boost as I run.

Overall, I managed PB’s over 10miles (1:50:49) and 15k (1:42:52) with a second best time on my 10k (1:06:49). I’m pretty delighted.

Fingers crossed the shin pain keeps a distance over the next few days. I’ve definitely learnt that I can rest if I need to.

Until next time…