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?  

 

Training through illness

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July has been a busy month, with moving and my trip to Belfast, yet I’ve been doing quite well with actually getting the miles in this month. And Here we are at the end of July, the weather is more akin to that of the end of October and I think this combined with my ability to never stop has left me with the dreaded summer cold. 
I woke up on Sunday with a terrible sore throat. However I had not gone for drinks as invited on Saturday night, specifically so I could get up and go for a long run on Sunday. So even though I knew what might be coming, I got up at 10 (still catching up on sleep from the previous two nights  graduation based frivolities) and I ran 10 miles outside. The weather was actually ok, sunny but not hot and it was windy. I did this in 1.37 odd. I’m fine with this, I’ve still got plenty of time to train and that was the furthest I’d run since the half marathon back in May. It was more important to me that I did not stop to walk, than push myself to be fast. 

Then on Monday the throat felt worse. No problem, plenty of liquids consumed, got some powerade for my run and put away 5 miles on the treadmill, 4 easy pace and the final faster. The sore throat was fine, I just had to have more liquid than normal. 
Tuesday was a slightly different story. I barely slept on Monday night from having a blocked nose now too. I had to load up on lemsip capsules, taking 6 during the day. I was very grumpy for 8 hours at work, but I felt fine to run. In fact I ran 7 miles fartlek quite happily. It was arguably the best I felt all day. 
My right calf was complaining a bit during that last run though, so I took Wednesday off. I went shopping for some holiday stuff, then came home, did a covering letter for a job, and made dinner (Homous, falafel and spinach baguette, yum) then relaxed for a bit. Tomorrow I will be back on it (it being the treadmill assuming this rain keeps up) and raring to push through this silly cold… Here’s to hoping ‘sweating the cold out’ is a thing! 

Here is a picture of some feet in Northern Ireland at the giants causeway. Because feet are used to run and I mentioned my trip in this post. Super relevant.  

 

Coming back after a breakΒ 

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It happened again, I was forced to take a lengthy break. And when I say lengthy I mean two weeks. But if you’re a runner you will know that kind of time feels like FOREVER. 
Why do that then, in the middle of marathon training? Well that would be for something I’ve wanted even longer than to be able to say I can run a marathon. That something would be a dinosaur tattoo. 
I finally did it, and got a velociraptor skeleton inked onto my left hip. I absolutely love it, he looks incredible! However because of the detailed nature and placement of Barney (yes that is his name), I could barely walk comfortably for the first few days, let alone run. I didn’t want to cause any excessive rubbing, and gym clothing as we all know is pretty tight. It’s also pretty sweaty, and moisture is not good for brand new tattoos. 

  
So having got Barney on May 30th, I finally went for a run on June 13th. I’ve run 20 miles in those 10 days. Shabby I know. But I ran 5 miles after work today and once I got going it felt good. So I’m going to get back into the swing of it, trying to stick to my Nike training plan as closely as possible. 
As usual last week I struggled to follow it exactly due to my demanding social life (I may have gone on a spontaneous night out Friday, worked all day Saturday then spontaneously driven down to London to surprise a friend for his birthday…!) and so failed to do the 10k ‘long’ run I should have. Here’s to hoping I can do it this week! 

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! 

  

February progress

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So I always find February a hard month to train in. Not only is it cold and uninviting outside, but so much always seems to be happening. My birthday alone took out pretty much a week, old friends came to visit and all sorts was going on at work. This Feb, I have managed to clock up 77.3 miles in a total of 11:39 hours, which is miles better (excuse the pun) than last year’s 30.6 miles.

Now here I am just under three months away from the Leeds half marathon, and following my new found love for reading articles on running, and subscribing to Runner’s World, I have decided the key to my success will be to ignore the Nike+ training app I relied on so heavily in the past. Not ignore it entirely, I intend to pay close heed to the weekly km targets. However, I cannot help but think it’s demand for me to run 5-6 times a week is a bit of a big ask. I find I have little time in the evenings when I go for a run after work, and I would have to get up crazy early to run before work (I leave for work at 7.15). Instead, I shall take the more balanced approach of running 3-4 weeks, but covering longer distances on those runs.

I need days off to do things. Today I took a day off, and I have been food shopping, to the bank and to the post office, had time to actually come on here and write a post, AND I am going to cook dinner, make lunch and maybe even make granola bars for lunch box snacks, before meeting my housemate for a midweek drink when she finishes work later. Normally I wouldn’t even be home until half 6/7, have time to cook and shower then have to head out again. I think I’ve been neglecting myself to try and push myself in training. But no more, instead of running 4/5/6/7 miles everyday, I will maybe do an 8, a 6 and a 10 miler in the week, and keep doing my long run on a sunday.

I am enjoying my me time right now so much. I have missed posting, but I have been so busy and constantly too tired to think by the time I get home.

In other running news I got lots of new running gear for my birthday, which was most definitely sponsored by Nike! I absolutely love my new Nike Lunarglide 6 running shoes. They are replacing my old lunar eclipse 2 (which I have kept, don’t want to wear my new ones out!).

I also hit 300K nike fuel, plus I made it into the blue milestone section and I am coming up to my 200th recorded run. Exciting stuff am I right?

Bring on march, and my new training approach!

Treadmills

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Ahhh treadmills. On the one hand a wonderful, magical invention that let’s us runners work out inside when the weather is bad, or if you are in the gym anyway, or want to do a planned and controlled workout without access to a coach. On the other, PURE TEDIOM. Yes. We have all been there, staring at the mileage/minutes wondering why it is taking so long to reach your target. Why treadmill, why must you be so boring. Today I was happily watching the Big Bang theory on the inbuilt tv of my treadmill in the gym on my post-work visit. Disaster struck, my earphones broke. I was left to run my last 10 minutes of my 4 mile run in silence. And when I say silence I mean the adverts of the local radio station being played and the repetitive sound of the track going round the treadmill over and over. It was not enjoyable, to say the least.

Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for the existence of treadmills. I just wish they were a little more exciting. Nothing, for a runner, can compare to running through different landscapes free as a bird. Running in different environments is far more stimulating, and prevents running becoming dull.

Gyms should really invest in some kind of simulation, like a projection on the wall, so us treadmill users can feel like we are running outside, and allow us to embrace our love for running inside! Might even encourage those people who spend a very forced looking 10 minutes on the treadmill to venture outside and become passionate about running!

Just a thought. 20140806-220632-79592313.jpg