Breaking through the half marathon wall

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Here we are, 10 weeks into training, and last week I finally made the great leap of faith in my body and mind’s capabilities. I ran 14 miles. Further than I’d ever run before. And to top that off I did it whilst still having a cold, in fact I think this is what caused it to move into a full blown chest infection. I had 3 days off, and then did two 6 milers, one 4 and another 13 this Sunday. 
Increasing the mileage has felt great. Actually doing it and forcing myself to keep going on those long runs has been difficult. Everything starts to hurt, and I’ve already gone pretty far… But I’ve resisted the urge to turn back, and now I feel like I can possibly do it. 
It is perhaps slightly unfortunate that this Friday I’m off travelling for 3 weeks, so it’s going to be pretty tough to fit in those long runs while I’m in Asia… But I’m hoping I can at least retain my fitness enough to not be starting over a month before the big marathon day! 
Still, maybe I can do it?  

 

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Post run snacks

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I, like many others, always find myself absolutely starving as soon as I stop running. Actually more often than not this occurs as soon as I start running. Probably my own fault, I struggle to run on a full stomach as it feels a lot worse in my opinion.

So this leaves me with the need to replenish my food supplies as soon as I get home. So I thought I’d share some of may favourite post-run snacks with you all.

 

Peanut butter Toast

I LOVE peanut butter. Not only is it tasty, but it is a good snack sized source of protein! And toast is great to put it on. It’s satisfying fairly instantly, which is important to my post-run hunger levels!

A disappointing result

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So yesterday I completed the Leeds Half Marathon, in a time 3 minutes slower than last year, and I am a bit gutted about this backwards progress. I was hoping to go sub 1:50 and instead ended up with a time of 1:54. That’s a good time, everyone keeps telling me. It’s not that it’s a bad time, I’d have been thrilled with that last year, but this year I wanted to do better. 
I only have myself to blame, I’m well aware that I lost my time in the first half of the race which is largely uphill, as I completely neglected any form of hill training this time around. I got complacent, knowing I had done it last year, and didn’t have the fear of hills I did last time around. That has cost me 63 places – going from 327th female last time to 390th! 

Other causes I suspect include how much hotter it was this year, and the fact that my iPod apparently needs serious recalibration, as it thought I’d run 15 miles. This means I hadn’t been running as far as it told me during training, presumably, so I hadn’t trained for as far. Last year it was almost spot on, so I’m not sure how it has managed this! 
I hope this set back will motivate me to train much harder for the upcoming Yorkshire marathon, and am going to try and put my self-frustration to positive use! 
Anyway it was a nice day after and my friends and family came to support me and take hideous photos, so I shall share those with you all  

      

Race number excitement

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My Leeds half marathon race number is here! YAY. A nice sight to come home to after today’s 10 mile run πŸ™‚ 

It’s green. I have no idea what that means. All that I know is it means training is about to kick it up a notch. I’m slacking a bit in April. Managed 100 miles in March, however between going home for Easter weekend, various birthdays and leaving parties, I’ve had little time to get out and run. I must be the worst person in history for FOMO (fear of missing out), and so turning down fun in favour of training has always been a struggle. Poor excuse I know, but I’m going to compensate for it these last few weeks! 

The race number is here, and it’s time to get serious. The diet has shifted from largely healthy to all the fruit and veg, no more takeaways here. And after my weekend excursion to Warsaw next week alcohol will be banned until that sweet post race pint. Leeds half, I’m coming for you! 

  

Cheap Workout Gear

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I really like shopping. I really like running and going to the gym.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE TWO COLLIDE?!

New gym gear. Yay!

Today I went into primark, spontaneously getting off the bus because the workout gear in the window I passed every day looked tempting. So I made the split decision that I needed new stuff to run in for marathon training, because new clothes are a great incentive to go out. Even if it’s just to go to the gym.

And I was rewarded for my split decision. 2 pairs of gym leggings, one pair of shorts, 5 pairs of socks, 2 sports bras and 2 tops. All for Β£28.50. Bargain! I mean I probably can’t afford to spend that much unnecessarily, but it’s not like I won’t use it. And I threw away three old gym tops when I got home. And I find it very hard to part with clothes, even ones I don’t wear/that are beyond being wearable.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my nike running gear. And I know that it’s way better quality than the cheaper stuff. But my two nike sports bras, the ticks are peeling off after 2 years. Not what you want really when you pay Β£20 for each item.

But hey ho. I’m excited to take my new stuff for a spin!

January gymers

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It’s that dreaded time of year again for all of us who hold the gym sacred. It’s the time of year when everyone has embraced the ‘New Year, New Me’ mantra and gone and got themselves a shiny new gym membership, or, polished that old one and vowed to actually make use of it. Thus, every evening, the gym is full of those people, who you know the majority of will have forgotten what a cross trainer is in 3 weeks.

I’m not saying people trying to take on a healthier life style is a bad thing, far from it. It’s just the fact that for one month the gym is over crowded. And I don’t like it.

For example, today I was doing my stretches, ab exercises and weights in the studio. I wasn’t in the middle of the room or anything like that, or even in the space usually occupied by the aerobic/Zumba/weird exercise dance classes that go on in the evening. And yet the class was so full that me and about 7-8 others doing similar things were asked to move out the way. We ended up squashed in a row at the side of the studio with barely room to swing our arms around our bodies. Not cool. And I couldn’t help but notice that the class was populated by unfit looking people in non-gym clothing. Which annoyed me. Don’t come and steal the space of the people who put in the effort all year round. Silly gyms and their desire to make money from these poor fools who half heartedly commit to a year contract in hope of forcing themselves to be fit.

To those of you who do stick it out, I salute you, and in a years time you too will have every right to complain about these new short-lived invaders. Happy gyming, and may the odds be ever in your favour when you want to use an unnecessarily busy piece of equipment!

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Change of discipline

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Due to the ambition of some friends of mine, I have decided to switch my focus for the next few months, away from pure running, and onto triathlon. We seem to have decided on the York triathlon in April: a 250m swim, 18km bike ride and 5k run. The run part I feel pretty prepared for even now. Although I am no where near my peak fitness, I know I could run it in under half an hour if I had to now. My aim for the run is to go sub-25. Should be do able, I have 4 months…

Swimming will be the biggest challenge I feel, since I haven’t actually done that since I was about 14, other than as an occasional leisurely holiday activity. It isn’t far to swim, 16 lengths, so with a bit of training it will be fine. However, since I go to a budget gym chain, there is no pool. Herein lies the problem. Luckily the Uni gym does have a pool, so I may just have to suck it up and pay per time.

This is certainly going to be an expensive challenge, I need a swimming suit and goggles for a start, maybe a hat. And then there is entry fee too, plus getting to york (I will worry about that nearer the time). The main expense will be the fact that I need a bike. My mum has a bike, I shall look at it when I go home, but I may need to buy a road bike. Oh boy. bit of research has reviled that these things aren’t cheap. I could cycle to work maybe to help justify the costs…

But for now I am going to train in the gym (I’ve done 2 hours cycling and an hour running this week, no swimming until I get a costume!) and sort out equipment nearer the time…

First triathlon, I am excited.