My final post before my final marathon

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Yes, this is my second and very last marathon.  Now that I’m in London and all packed and ready for the morning, I’m very excited and just a little nervous too.

I have spent the week preparing – chiropractor and acupuncture on Wednesday to ease a very stiff neck/shoulder which seems to have done the trick.  Sports massage on Friday for a final loosen off of those muscles and I feel in good shape.

I’ve eaten lots of carbs over the last 3 days.  Funnily enough when I gave myself free reign to eat what I wanted this week, I have eaten pretty healthily.  Except of the odd slip up….

Carb loading anyone?

Carb loading anyone?.

A delicious piece of carrot cake (my real weakness) from Jamie’s Deli in Bath.  It was so big that I thought I would eat half one day and save the second half for the next. But I didn’t.

I do feel that I haven’t done nearly as many miles as last time – and I haven’t because I’ve followed a very different programme this time which only has 3 runs a week, and the longest run of 3 hours.  I feel like it’s been very focused, with each run serving a very specific purpose.  Now let’s see if it works…!  The good thing is that I get to meet George Anderson tomorrow as he is running the pacing group for the 4:45 group.  I am going to start off with them and see how I go as I really can’t face the whole thing on my own.

I am staying with my friends Ruth & Tim tonight (who are out celebrating Ruth’s birthday). I’ve collected my runner’s pack from the lovely Sally who collected it for me saving me a trip to London to the Expo.  We are meeting at 7.20 tomorrow to travel to the start together. I’m very glad I have someone to go with otherwise I think I would be even more nervous.

People have been fantastic – sponsoring me and sending me messages of encouragement all day.

So, here I am less than 12 hours before the start.  All ready.  Just need a good night’s sleep now….

All packed and ready to go....

All packed and ready to go….

Half-way there

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Well it’s been a while. I’m not sure what happened to February- it appears to be March now! I’ve been really busy with work and have had kids half term as well as a little one off school for a week to contend with.

But.  I haven’t missed a single run – of that I’m very proud.  I’ve finished the dreaded hill sessions; my skinny jeans don’t fit over my calves any more; but I do feel fitter (and a bit faster) than I have done in a long while.

And now that it’s March, it’s the Bath Half Marathon on Sunday.

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I feel fairly well prepared for this thanks to George and his very Intelligent Running programme. I’ve started a sweepstake for my finishing time to raise some extra money for the wonderful Breast Cancer Campaign – it’s quite scary what some people have put down as their guesses for my finishing time….
The lovely people at Breast Cancer Campaign sent me letters to iron on my shirt – difficult having such a long name but I just managed to get them on:
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So now I’m feeling a little more prepared for Sunday.  The weather looks suitably cold and drab which suits me just fine – last year it was so hot I really struggled.
My lovely friend Winky seems to be doing really well. Here she is swimming with dolphins 🙂
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One of my mother’s very close friends has also just been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Life is so unfair. She has already had cancer, had her leg amputated because of it and had a stroke.  But she takes it all in her stride and deals with all the horrible blows life throws at her.
All this reminds me that the cause I’m running for is so worthwhile so if you have a spare few quid, please feel free to sponsor me.
So from here on in the training is going to get much harder.  The long runs get longer, the short runs get longer, the threshold runs get longer….. I’m going to need all the motivation I can get!

Fuelling with gin

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I’m now into week 5 of my programme – that’s scary!  11 weeks to go….

I finished off last week with my icy hill runs and then a long run on Saturday morning into Bath to collect the car (again!).  This time I had been to a Gin tasting the evening before.  Not my usual preparation for a long run it must be said.

I had 90 minutes on the schedule so thought that would be a good way to clear the head the next day.

I went to the tasting with three friends and it was great fun.  I have never done a spirits tasting before and found it fascinating.

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Not your average Friday night out

We tasted 10 different gins including many I’ve never heard of.

We tried:

Seagram Reserve

Beefeater

Beefeater 24

Tanqueray

Bombay Sapphire

Plymouth Gin

Hoxton Gin

G’Vine

Chase Williams Gin

Hendricks

There were some that I really wasn’t keen on. The Hoxton Gin (which had coconut and grapefruit in it) wouldn’t be my top choice for a gin & tonic, but I can imagine it would make a good base for a cocktail. It smelled like a Pina Colada!

G’Vine gin was slightly different because it was made from grape spirit and had almost a cognac flavour about it.

I did like the Chase gin which was made from apple spirit but my two favourites were Hendrick’s and Tanqueray.  The Seagram was nice if a little masculine (whisky like?) and it looked like something they would definitely have been drinking in Mad Men.

We nosed them all neat, then tried them with water.  I was well aware that I was running in the morning so I only took a tiny sip of each. Then we were able to try them with tonic after the tasting so I had a delicious Tanqueray with Fevertree tonic.  Yum.

Saturday brought a beautiful morning for running – cold with lovely blue sky, perfect to blow away the cobwebs.  The pavements around Bath were still very icy so we had to go slowly in some parts, but all in all a good run of around 8.5 miles.

I missed my training today due to a poorly little girl at home, so am hoping to sneak it in tomorrow morning after dropping the boy at judo before school.

And this weekend I’m excited to be running the Longleat 10k and pleased because I’ve managed to persuade my lovely daughters to come and cheer me on as I’ll be all on my own 🙂

The Dreadmill

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Today’s run was a 3 x 10 minute threshold run.  We had another light smattering of snow last night on top of the already icy lanes so I decided running fast on a slippery surface was not advisable so I took myself off to the gym today.

I really don’t enjoy running on the treadmill although it must be said it does have its advantages:

– for an interval session like this it’s good because you maintain a constant speed, rather than slowing down towards the end as I’m sure I do when running outside

– it must be kinder on the joints

– you can let your mind wander without the running the risk of slowing down

But

– I find the lack of variety of the surface makes different muscles tired

– I find myself constantly watching the clock as it’s right in front of you (I know you can cover it up) as opposed to looking at a watch

– it is very boring looking at the same view!

Plus I had forgotten my headphones 😦

Anyway, run done. No injuries.  And home for a lovely bowl of home-made tomato and lentil soup. Yum!

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– 

Intermittent Fasting

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I’ve been following the principle of intermittent fasting for a while now and I find it really effective when I do it properly.  I think I do a bit too much of the intermittent and not enough of the fasting though…

The 5:2 method seems to be the most popular at the moment.  What I never seem to manage is the two days of fasting; I somehow can’t seem to contemplate fasting on a running day, and as that is roughly every other day, it doesn’t leave me much scope.

There seem to be many different variations.  The Horizon programme last summer highlighted the effectiveness of this way of eating – not just for losing weight but for greater health benefits and also for it’s anti-ageing benefits too.  I had already discovered Brad Pilon’s Eat stop Eat programme.  Brad advocates intermittent fasting following a 24-hour fast from the time of your last meal – i.e. if you eat supper at 7.00pm you don’t eat again until 7pm the next day.  I can cope with that as you’re asleep for the most part of it.

The Horizon programme advocates eating around 500 calories on fast days.  I personally find the former method easier psychologically because if I have decided not to eat at all, that’s easier than limiting what I do eat.

I need to move it on a bit to try exercising in the mix after reading this post by Trainer George.

Does anyone else have any experience about what works best?  I’d be really interested to know more about fasting and exercising.  I do most of my long runs on an almost empty stomach.  We try and go off early on a Saturday morning and I’m not inclined to get up even earlier to eat beforehand (I need to allow a good 90 minutes after eating before a long run otherwise I get a stitch and feel sick).  So I sometimes have an Actimel and if it’s a longish distance (9+ miles) I will take an energy drink or some squash.  But then I’m ravenous when I come home.

Food writer Fiona Beckett has been posting some lovely looking recipes on her blog that are good for eating on the 500 calorie days if you’re following that method.

Please let me know what you think in the comments!

Week 3 nearly complete

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Well I say nearly, but the biggest part is yet to come – the long run tomorrow.  I’m a little worried I won’t be able to do it because of the snow that we’ve had today.

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The slopes of Wellow

This week the time for the threshold and the hill runs was back down to 3 x 8 minutes (compared with 10 minutes last week) which felt much easier – I’m not sure whether this was because my fitness is improving or because the two minutes make a big difference. (I have to admit that last week the sessions of 10 minutes felt a lot longer!).

So the snow today meant a snow day – no school!  The morning was spent sledging (for the kids) while we stood around getting freezing feet.  Back home for some work and then a meet up in the pub for lunch – the perfect way to spend a Friday.

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It’s been a long day…

I’m now sitting in front of a lovely warm fire feeling very cosy.

I have 75 minute run on the schedule for tomorrow (my programme is defined by time rather than distance which is rather a different approach for me).  Not sure if I will be able to make it out because of the snow, but I’m going to give it a go. I think it might be a bit icy so I’m going to try a flatter route than the normal hilly route as I think that will be slightly less risky.  Will let you know how it goes….

 

Christmas

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First of all Happy Christmas! Hope you all got everything you wished for.

Ours was a lovely day; my parents came over and for once I felt very in control of all the food preparation and was able to really relax and enjoy the day. I did feel full after lunch but not ridiculously so and haven’t eaten any chocolate at all. We had the fabulous Heston’s hidden orange pudding (which I’m pretty sure doesn’t count towards my five a day, but oh well). The kids were all thrilled with their pressies and are all looking good in their new clothes today.

I read a blog post by the guy whose training plan I am following which basically says all is not lost on the eating front if you overdid it yesterday, today is another day. He advised us to lay off the starchy carbs which I think is sound advice.

I got a lovely new running top which I’m looking forward to trying out and am very much looking forward to running tomorrow as I really feel I need it. I should have gone today but am really enjoying a cosy day at home with the kids looking at all our lovely presents while the husband is out playing golf (in the rain).