Running with Skin Cancer

This is a bit of a brave post and I have debating for all of the summer months about posting it. In 2012, I was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma (skin cancer) and Actinic Keratosis (pre-cancerous skin cancer). Whilst basal cell carcinoma is one of the easiest skin cancers to treat, I had let is fester under my eye for too long and it had grown deeper.  If left it any longer, I was in danger of it spreading and it affecting my eye sight, and I required Mohs surgery.  I’ve never really blogged about it before.  I guess I’ve treated it a bit like a dirty secret.

So far, I have had 5 treatments on my face, and one on my arm – most of the treatments have been for Actinic Keratosis (pre-cancerous cells that turn into Squamous cell carcinoma’s). For these treatments, I have had to apply an anti-cancer drug to the area before sleep. The cream burns out and kills the cells which gave me terrible burns to my skin including open wounds.  At the end of the treatment, my skin was burnt and red raw. Yes, I have good make up for running (don’t judge me! 😊) so it’s difficult to spot unless its pointed out. I am also lucky to have had a fantastic consultant and have to regularly go back for checkups.

Unfortunately, the cream hasn’t worked on many occasions and I have had to have Photodynamic therapy which consists of initial treatment of cream to kill the cancer cells, this is then followed by a special light treatment which reacts with the cream to kill the cancer cells. This treatment was excruciatingly painful (think about the shuddery feeling of putting your foot in a boiling hot bath  – but leaving it there for 15 minutes).

Skin cancer is real, but it is preventable. Roughly 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultra violet radiations from the sun.  I lived in Australia for a year and didn’t think skin cancer would happen to me, and would regularly sit in the sun without any sun factor.  Shamefully, as a teenager, I used to lather myself up with baby oil and just bake until I was burnt to a crisp. I naively thought I would eventually end up with a golden tan like my friends.  Half of my family are pale, Scottish and freckly so this wasn’t ever going to happen!

Cancer is scary and unpleasant, it’s also really emotionally draining. This hasn’t been an easy post to share but If this post has just reached one person in using sunblock and using sun preventative measures, I have saved one person some sun damage.

My relationship with the sun is complicated. I love soaking up its warmth and energy, but obviously have to be really careful.  The sun does like to leave its mark – age spots, tan lines, painful burns – to name but a few. There are, of course, reasons to be wary, especially if you’re logging lots of summer miles. But you might be surprised to learn that running in the sun also does your body good..

There’s something about the sunshine that makes us happy. Our mood is better, we feel more positive – making the sunshine vital to our mental and physical health, but we should also know when enough is enough. Here are a few tips to staying safe in the sun…

  1. Certain medication can make you sensitive to the sun. Most topical and oral medications, including those for acne, high blood pressure and birth control can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
  2. Wear a hat or join the #visorclub to prevent sun damage. You won’t catch me without my visor in the summer, I feel naked without it. Also UV – blocking sunglasses are a must – polarised lenses help beat the glare.
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Follow me to the Visor Club

 

  1. Use Sun protection. Bit of an obvious one but a lot of runners won’t wear sunblock due to the stickiness and how much they can make you sweat, so its worth investing in a sports sunscreen which is lighter in texture and less occlusive. I use Neutrogena Ultra sheer, dry touch lotion, factor 55 and it goes on really lightly and isn’t sticky at all.  Gents- Don’t forget to do the rim of your ears and the top of your scalp if you have thinning hair.  If you are able to purchase a travel size, you can keep this in your hydration pack or waist band.
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I can’t run without this

 

  1. Run when the sun is less intense. Generally, the sun us at its strongest between 10am and 4pm, if you train during those hours, find somewhere shady to run.
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You can always find a shady trail run

 

  1. Do your checks regularly. If you spend a lot of time outside, its important that you check for irregular moles or spots which are there for a long time, suddenly appear or become itchy. It’s always worth getting a second opinion by a Doctor if you are unsure.

Taking these small steps is a no brainer. Not only can they extend your running, they can extend your life.

May your miles be long and your injuries few

Kezza x

 

 

 

 

 

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Running with Asthma

Since running, I have really noticed how bad my asthma is in the cold. In fact, it’s been so bad that I took the time to research whether other runners were feeling the same. Turns out, they were, and I soon discovered that there was a common theme occurring. I was not alone.

I didn’t get diagnosed with asthma until I was in my early twenties and it has never posed me any issues. That was until I started running. This January I’ve come down with Pneumonia for the second time in two years. Unfortunately, I believe this has been caused by running in the bitter cold. The freezing cold air is absolutely no good for my lungs and this is a hard pill to swallow. Will I run on the ‘dreadmill’ for colder runs? I just can’t see it. I love the outdoors too much. I can’t think of anything worse than running and not seeing new things and not actually going anywhere!

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Running Free!

Will asthma stop me doing the things I love – absolutely not. Asthma UK have actually said ‘Exercise, including cardio vascular exercise like running has amazing benefits for everyone’s health. this includes improving how the lungs actually work. In fact, Jo Pavey is an advocate for running with asthma and says ‘Being fit has improved my asthma so much. When I was at University and not doing much running, I would really struggle for breath going uphill. That just doesn’t happen when I am looking after my fitness’

As well as Jo Pavey, Paula Radcliffe was also diagnosed with exercise induced asthma as the age of fourteen, so it is not impossible to excel at sports because you have asthma. Worth remembering!

For me, I am going to have to ease back into running gently. Unfortunately, cold weather does trigger asthma symptoms because cold air can irritate the airways. I have tried running with a buff – this has helped to warm the air to my lungs beforehand. Asthma UK have initiated the ‘#Scarfie’ and they are encouraging asthma sufferers to wear a scarf over their mouth -www.asthma.org.uk/scarfie

Luckily, I have never been in a position where I have had an asthma attack, but symptoms to be mindful of are;

  1. A) Wheezing and coughing
  2. B) Gasping for air
  3. C) Tightness in the chest
  4. D) Having trouble speaking short sentences

There are many things you can do to look after yourself if you have asthma.

  1. A) Take your inhalers. . You can take their inhalers before they leave for their runs to ease the symptoms of asthma
  2. B) In the summer, Pollen can trigger asthma so run early in the morning before the pollen count is high
  3. C) Warm up your lungs! Running for a few short minutes before your run will help. A few quick spurts will warm up your lungs for your main run.
  4. D) Use a scarf over your mouth to warm up your lungs
  5. E) Carry your inhaler – you know this makes sense!
  6. F) Consider carrying around an ‘ICE’ tag (in case of emergencies tag).
  7. G) Tell people about your asthma and what they should do if you were to have an attack.
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#scarfie

The key is if you are looking after your symptoms well, you can enjoy any kind of exercise including running. Unfortunately living in the UK means that if you have asthma, you must be extra cautious, especially in the winter months.

If you need further advice on asthma, its worth visiting the asthma UK official website (www.asthma.org.uk).

May your miles be long and your injuries few

Kezza x

 

All I want for Christmas….

Christmas is rapidly approaching and it’s time to start thinking about presents! Have a runner in your life?  Here are some great ideas for you. Here are a few of my fav things and some suggestions! If you are a runner reading this, perhaps leave this webpage open on the gift you would like!

PANTS!

Runderwear are an absolute must for any runner. They don’t chafe, are breathable and super comfortable. I have them in every colour! https://www.runderwear.co.uk/runderwear

 


SOCKS!

The only time it is acceptable to buy socks for Christmas! 😊   I really like Thorlo socks – these are amazing for long distance but there are cheaper socks out there. Karrimor are also very good value for money (these can be bought at Sports Direct).

https://www.karrimor.com/

https://www.thorlo.com/Karrimor socks


RACE ENTRY

There are so many races out there! Just pick your distance and choose your area. From Santa this year, I am hoping for an entry to the Lochness Marathon in Scotland. Need to choose a race? Here’s a link!

https://www.runbritain.com/races

Me


RUNNING BELT

I REALLY love the Flipbelt! It’s so comfortable and doesn’t ‘bounce’ like other waist bands. It’s unbelievable how much you can fit in this baby! They come in all shapes and sizes too!

https://flipbelt.co.uk/

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TRAINERS

Of course! Nothing lights up a runner’s life than some new rides. Handy hint coming* – runners are really particular about the branding and make of their trainers so worth checking the brand that they are wearing before making any purchase. I absolutely LOVE Brooks, they do so many different pairs of trainers for different running styles. My favourite are Brooks GTS – they are so generous with the padding and support and are great for long runs.

http://www.brooksrunning.com/en_gb

Brooks


SHORTS

You can’t go wrong with a good pair of shorts. My favourite are my Gore running shorts as they don’t budge and ride up. I am finding it really difficult to find another pair.

GORE shorts


SPORTS MASSAGE

You can’t go wrong with a good sports massage. Why not purchase a voucher for your runner? Perfect for ironing out those niggles and knots. I’m in Fareham and use the lovely Sharon at the Rural Retreat – she’s only little but her fingers pack a punch!

http://www.ruralretreatmassage.com

Shazzer

 


ENERGY GELS

Perfect for any runner who is marathon training or long distance training. You might want to again check which ones to buy as they don’t always suit every runner.   Personally for me, I have gastro issues with most gels but am fine with High 5 energy gels. You can’t go wrong with these!

http://www.highfive.co.uk

 

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AFTERSHOKZ

These are a really smart idea – they work by functioning on the vibration through the cheekbone to the inner ear and so therefore you can hear everything that is going on around you.     These are a brilliant idea for the health and safety element. These come in wireless and with wires and in different colours too. Top of my list for xmas!https://aftershokz.co.uk/

Aftershokz



 

Here are some other ideas from some fellow runners;

 

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‘A GPS handheld device with maps/route planner, A race entry (tougher and longer the better) A new pair of short shorts’ – Paul Pickford, Ultrarunner and Captain for the Fareham Crusaders (Follow him on Twitter – @Pickfordpj)

 

rebecca

‘On my list I have a parkrun wristband (@parkrunUK), a RUNR hoodie (www.runr.co.uk) and some egloves (https://www.eglove.co.uk/)’ -Rebecca Wroblewski, Runner (Follow her on Twitter on @bigmugoftea).  Follow Rebecca’s blog on www.bigmugoftea.com

Nick White‘I Have been converting some slightly pricy waterproof jackets. Particularly liking the Ronhill Nightfall (http://www.ronhill.com/mens-infinity-nightfall-jacket). Because it’s called the Nightfall and at heart I just want to be Batman… too much info right? (I’ll get my coat).”  Nick White – Runner. Follow him on Twitter – @Nickswhiteter

 

 

Kirsten

‘I’d like a parachute resistance thing, trail shoes and a top to toe massage – oh and a bigger medal hanger (in case you are reading hubby and need some ideas” – Kirsten Thatcher – Runner for the Fareham Crusaders

 

I hope you get everything you want for Christmas. Be good – Santa is watching!

May your miles be long and your injuries few

Kezza x

 

Disclaimer – I was not paid by any manufacturer, distributor, or retailer to promote any of their products. All products and gear mentioned by me were purchased with my own money for my own personal use while running. My advice to you is to do the same – get suggestions (like those in this article), but see what works best for you!

Runners Playlist 2017

You’ve got to love a running playlist. I think we all have those songs that will give us an instant boost when our legs are fatigued and ready to quit! It may be the lyrics that keep us motivated and in the zone although it could be the beat – or both!  – one thing is for sure, these songs give me the extra little ‘umpf’ that I need. I love a good ‘bursting out’ into song mid run…

Title Artist
Bullit Watermat
Sunchyme Dario G
Summit Skrillex (fest Ellie Goulding)
Summer Rain Slinkee Minx
Waiting for a Sign Antoine Villoutreix
Better off Alone Alice Deejay
Pretty Green Eyes Ultrabeat
2 Times Ann Lee
Everytime we Touch Cascada
All the Small Things Blink 182
Feels Calvin Harris
Party Chris Brown
Jubel Kingande
Hello Martin Solvieg
Nobody to Love Sigma
Who knows Protoje
Gold Dust DJ Fresh
Cool Le Youth
What about us The Saturdays
Cheerleader Omi
On My Mind The Disciples
Symphony Clean Bandit
More than Friends James Hype
Havana Camila Cabello

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I do get bored after a while and switch these up every so often. What’s on your current playlist?

May your runs be long and your injuries few…

Kezza x

Running & Iron

Up until recently I have been really struggling with my running. I really noticed it this year when I was training for a marathon; I would literally be so exhausted, and having 12 hours sleep most evenings. When running, I felt like I had absolutely nothing left in the tank and was always short of breath.  I was also training more, but wasn’t ever improving – I just couldn’t understand it. Girls I ran with at the club were suddenly overtaking me at Parkrun’s and I would be scratching my head wondering why this was happening.

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One fateful day, the lovely Nick Anderson from the Company ‘Running with us’ paid a visit to my club. Nick spoke a little bit about iron and a light bulb went off in my head.  I bravely approached Nick at the end of his presentation and presented him with my dilemma – I think it went something like this ‘Seriously Nick, am I too old for this shit?’  Nick laughed and explained that as I had only been running for 3 years, I hadn’t even hit my peak with my running- regardless that I was a ‘senior’ runner.  Nick pretty much said that he thought I was iron deficient and said I should call the GP for a blood test.  He also said I was sleeping and eating like a teenager, but moving on….  I got home and researched how on earth iron would help me improve and was startled to learn that the red blood cells are transporting oxygen to your working muscles when you run – basically if you have low iron levels, you generate fewer red blood cells and your hemoglobin levels decline – hence less oxygen to your muscles – hampering performance, or in layman’s terms – leaving you bloody knackered. Trying to improve with low iron would be like trying to flog a dead horse.

Iron deficiency in female runners is very common. In a 2000 study, 26 per cent of 126 female endurance athletes were iron deficient. (Source – Women’s Running Magazine, 2017). Shocking stuff!

I also learnt that runners are losing iron all the time and it needs to be replaced. This is through;

Through your Feet! Yep, crazy huh? When your foot strikes the floor red blood cells are damaged which reduce your hemolysis levels.

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Sweating – I’m not a lady who ‘glows’ and ‘glistens’. Apparently, the amount of iron loss isn’t huge, although if it’s hot and humid, the iron losses can add up

Through the Intestines – a problem for most athletes.

Female ‘time of the month’ – For obvious reasons

Nutrition – If you aren’t stocking up on your iron enriched foods, this is going to have a massive effect on your iron levels. I am not a massive red meat eater- I just hate the smell and the taste. Foods high in iron are green leafy veg, dried fruit, whole grain cereals / bread, egg yolk, lean red meat, lentils and chickpeas.

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My GP provided me with a blood test to check my ferritin levels (iron stores) and they were at 17mcg/L. An athlete’s ferritin levels should be much higher than this – obviously these levels are different for males and females.  An ideal score should be above 50mcg/L.  The Doctor did confirm that my score was really low and was surprised that I was able to train and run a marathon with such a low ferritin score. The Doctor prescribed some high dose iron tablets (Ferrous Sulphate 200mg) which had a really interesting effect on my stomach.  My doctor then placed me on Ferrous Fumarate which are gentler on the gut.  I am still having issues with the tablets and have had to adjust the time I take them to ensure no awkward moments. I have been taking my tablets with a glass of orange juice and a Vit C tablet to aid the absorption.

Since taking the tablets, I must say, my running has really improved and I’m feeling amazing.  I am also not having a nap at my desk at 3pm. I have been obtaining more PB’s and have even gone up a group at run club! I am also craving less sugar as I am not as tired.

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It’s important to say that I am not a medical expect in any way shape or form, but I think it is important that people know how a lack of iron can influence your sports performance.

May your miles be long and your injuries few.

Kezza x

Finding Mojo….

So, I’m back. I’ve not blogged since April. Mainly due to losing what they call the ‘running mojo’, I think I lost it somewhere around mile 18 of the London Marathon. It happens to the best of us – one minute I was setting goals, reaching new milestones in my training and then after the marathon I avoided any kind of running. Instead preferring to spend my time lifting weights and attending gym classes. I just felt like marathon training became a real ‘chore’ and more like ‘work’. I also discovered that my pace had slowed right down and it really demotivated me.

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Having spoken to running friends, I realised that losing your running mojo is a real thing. Especially after such intense training for a marathon. I realised that I needed to set some new strategies for getting out the door…

Using the run as a ‘keep fit’ – This advice one came from one of my running friends. It was good advice. Just forget about your speed, distance and just look at it as a ‘getting fit’ run.

Cut your runs down – so you’ve been marathon training, you can relax in the knowledge that you no longer need to spend 18 miles and umpteen hours of your Sunday morning out there running.

Sign up for races– Run for fun, or go for a new PB – or even treat the race as a training run… there is also bling at the end! Everyone is a winner!

Run with friends-Running with friends can take the pressure off pace (depending on what friend you run with of course!) and ensures that the miles just fly by. I do love a good ole natter but also can enjoy a couple of miles ‘just listening’. Many of my long miles with friends have been to stop in the shop for an ice cream or a drink and to take pictures.

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Try a different run– why not try a different route altogether? Even if it means driving to a new location…

X Country – I LOVE a bit of mud. Bring it on! I find X country so exciting as you never know what’s going to be around the corner and there are always some fantastic routes and views to be had.

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Don’t stress about it-It doesn’t matter if you’re not running as long as you’re moving. Take the time to try out some classes or new exercises until you get your fitness and running mojo back!

Try something different to running that you’ve always wanted to try! I am really enjoying my stand up paddling at the moment.  Why not try paddling or kayaking? We have had a beautiful summer so far so why not try something different and give your legs a well-earned break!

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Lose the Garmin – If you’re someone who has been running for a long time, then you know for sure what your pace is. Even if you tell yourself you won’t look at your Garmin, don’t believe it – you will. So, just leave it at home! Run free, at whatever pace feels good and liberating.

Join a run club – you will meet some totally awesome and inspirational people. Enough said..

Buy some new trainers – it’s the answer to everything. Plus, won’t it be great to just go test those baby’s out!

Change up your track list – my track list varies so much – I have gangster rap right through to slow ballads. It depends on what kind of day I have had as to what I choose to listen to.

Stretch!

Lastly, Run because you Can!   Remember that running is a privilege. It’s something YOU get to do for yourself. After all, not everyone has the ability to run. Some are sick, or physically not able to, and some just have no time. Be grateful instead that you have legs that are mobile, lungs that are strong, and a body that is healthy – all of these things mean that you “get” to run today.

Have you ever lost your mojo and have you any new strategies to getting your love for running back, I would love to hear them!

May your runs be long and your injuries few…

Kezza x

 

 

Keeping it Real…

The Definition of a Real Runner….

I’ve heard this phrase mentioned whilst doing what I love (running) and it has got me thinking. The term ‘Real Runner’.  It confused me somewhat – what is a REAL runner?

real runner

Is there such thing as a fake runner? Is the term real runner reserved for those who take running seriously? For those that are quicker? Surely each runner puts in as much effort as the next person. Isn’t it all relative? My 9-minute mile could be the equivalent to your 11-minute mile effort. Either way we are both exerting heart strengthening, lung boosting, endorphin generating effort.  Sounds like a runner to me.

Being a real runner shouldn’t be defined by comparing yourself to others. Being a real runner is about the passion you have about running, about the way you embrace each step with every mile. In my opinion, a real runner is how much grit and determination someone has. My definition of a real runner is;

  1. Courageous – You may not be the fastest or fittest but you are still running. That’s brave.
  2. Grit – Running isn’t easy, but with time, it does become enjoyable. A ‘real runner’ knows that hard work gets results.
  3. Commitment – Running takes commitment. Making goals and trying to reach them is a great way to become healthier.
  4. Mental Toughness – Many people will find excuses not to exercise but a real runner runs in the cold and the rain and even the hail and snow! A real runner realises that showing up is half the battle.
  5. Competition. A real runner competes against themselves. We cheer for each other and do the best that we can.
  6. Performance – A real runner will always have a crappy run but will go out the next day and try again.

Running is an attitude, it’s a mentality – propelling you out of the door in the rain and wind. It’s an urge. It’s social – only other runners know what you are going through and feel the pain in your heart and the ache in your legs. If you have found yourself nodding your head whilst reading this blog, you are a real runner. It doesn’t matter if you are running 10 minute miles or 15 minute miles. Those feelings, that way of thinking – that is running.

I am not being defensive, I just felt the need to write this post to protect my beloved sport of running, to be an ambassador of what is beautiful about supporting each other, looping, hobbling, racing, plodding and sprinting.

We asked the runners from  Fareham Crusaders ‘what’s a ‘real runner’?……..

 

Next time you head out the door tell yourself -and others – you are a REAL runner! I am…

May your runs be long and your injuries afew…

Kezza x

 

A big thanks to the Runners at the Fareham Crusaders for keeping it real and to James Musselwhite from Closer Photography for editing the video

VLM – 44 days to go….

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Up to 15 miles…

 

46 days until the London Marathon and I can pretty much say that the novelty has well and truly worn off! I am so tired, mentally and physically but the main reason for my lack of mojo has been due to the struggles on my longer runs. I also seem to have developed a niggle in my right knee which is really annoying!  My never ending appetite seems to have calmed down though.  I got to the stage where I was wondering whether my stomach was an empty hole….appetite

My longest run so far has been 15 miles. The last 3 miles of those were really painful,  I was really grateful that I had good company with good friends (well, for at least 12 miles!).

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Still smiling at mile 10…

 

My physiotherapist has told me that I am chasing the rainbow to continue training for this marathon and his opinion is that my body is that of a sprinter and just not cut out for longer distances.  His exact words were ‘Kerry, you are chasing the rainbow’ which has made me even more determined to do it! Even if I have to walk /run.

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Apart from my knee niggles, I have hit the dreaded wall a couple of times in my training. The wall isn’t something I have experienced before- how can I explain it- Basically there is nothing you can do or say, think or feel that will give your legs and lungs the strength to push forward. You are mentally and physically spent!  I think this just about sums it up! I have also learned some new and colourful swear words….

I’ve been looking at what I can do to overcome the exhaustion and what actions should I be taking on this tough period of training.

  1. Put things into perspective – it would be easy to quit and embrace a defeatist mentality at this point of my training. I have worked so hard and not long got over a serious illness. I need to review the progress that has already been made and just go with it. if I need to walk at any time, so be it.
  2. Take a Rest Day or Cross Train – I am having a few niggles this week (knee and hip flexor) so I have made the decision to cross train this week. (Spin, boxercise, swim and rowing). Allowing my body time to recover better.
  3. Reduce the volume or intensity in my training – hopefully by Sunday, my legs will be less tired.
  4. Nutrition – I need to start keeping a log of my diet. Although I have been carbing up, I am not 100% sure that pizza is a complex carb!
  5. Think Positive – there have certainly been a few tears recently and I am trying to keep a positive mindset. This has helped by talking to those closest to me – as in running friends.

This week I have been Cross training to reduce the impact in my knee and to give my body a break.   Nothing gives me quite the same rush as running but needs must. I aim to go out again on Sunday on a 16 miler but perhaps at a slower pace than my usual 10/10.30.

How has your marathon training been? Have you ever hit the wall and what have you done to get over it?! How are you feeling at this stage of your training?

May your miles be long and your injuries a few….

Kezza x

London Marathon – 79 days to go….

So we are now in February which means only 79 days to go until the London Marathon… EEEEKKKKKK! Overall I am relatively happy, despite being about three weeks behind due to illness.  I am confident that I will be able to catch up – albeit slowly. Since my last blog, I have enjoyed some X country sessions with my running Club, the Fareham Crusaders. Captain Aaron took us on a magical mystery tour on the rainiest day this year which can only mean one thing – MUD!!!!

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Sunday Running – Rain and Mud!

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Let’s be planes

The great thing about X country is that is strengthens ankles and core and is much tougher than road running, which means when you get back to the road, it should be easier! I absolutely love X Country, for me these runs aren’t about speed and the views are fantastic.

I am pleased that the weather and my training is finally into double figures… both at the magic 10! I have to be honest though, I am massively struggling with the mileage and hope that my body can start to adapt so soon after illness.

I have been running three times a week and also weight training for muscle strength, I really do need to sort my diet out though.   I’m not a fan of pasta, but really need to start eating some complex carbs! My training consists of a recovery run on the Tuesday (3 miles), 7.5 miles on the Thursday and a longer run on a Sunday (which is increasing steadily each week).  This Sunday is a 12 miler. I am gutted that my training partner Lyndsey has an injury at the moment and we are hoping that it is muscular.

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Nothing beats a good training partner…

I have had a niggle myself this week, with my Achilles reminding me not to overdo it.  I think I am just going to slow my pace down a wee bit just to keep them happy.  My Achilles are the thorns in my side and I had to defer my 2016 place in the London to this year because of chronic Achilles tendonitis- frustrating!  I’ve tried to nip any injuries in the bud before they escalate by visiting the lovely Sharon Gwynn at the Rural Retreat in Wickham for a decent sports massage and Gary Sadler (physio) in Cosham for some Shock Wave therapy.  (I can’t big this treatment up enough).

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My sports massauge, sharon,  looking like she is enjoying this a bit too much!

Right, im off for my 7.5 miler in this wind and rain before I change my mind!

May your runs be long and your injuries a few….

Kezza x

The GREAT South Run – Portsmouth

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Best Running Club Ever – The Fareham Crusaders

I am so happy to be writing a blog about this race, not only because I was injured for it last year but because it is one of my favourite races of all time. I grew up as a Portsmouth girl so this race is especially close to my heart. This year I made the decision not to wear headphones so I could take in all the sights and sounds. I also got my name emblazoned across my vest and so there were a lot of shouts of encouragement the whole way round which is pretty damn awesome!

This year I decided that, because the trains were down, I would drive down by car. Bit of a mistake as everyone had the same idea! 6 miles of tail backs before a race isn’t my idea of fun. Everyone who knows me is aware of my panic episodes and ‘what if’ scenarios… ‘what if I miss the race Dad?!?!?!?’ Dad rightly pointed out that there was 2 hours to go before my wave set off and told me to relax. Unfortunately, I missed the team photo with the Crusaders (twice!) but had a couple of shots with my support team – my dad, two sisters and two nephews….

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Me and Sister, Nicky

 

My sister Nicky couldn’t believe how calm I was this year in comparison to a couple of years ago. This year I just wanted to quash the nerves and enjoy every ounce of it.

My wave was the white wave. I frantically tried to find my friend Emma before the race, as we are around the same pace -but with no success. It was literally like trying to find a needle in a hay stack. I begrudgingly made my way to my wave pen on my own and found two fellow Crusaders – Steve Hall and Paul Stephenson. We had a great dance in the warm up to ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams. I spotted James Musselwhite, ‘the boss’ for Fareham Crusaders, hanging over the barrier and gave him a squeeze and I was ready to go.

We were off! I couldn’t take the smile off my face for the first mile. A massive wave to my family on the left – and remembering to pace myself. My aim was for 9.30MM. The weather was absolutely glorious! Perfect running conditions. I looked over to my right and passed the Portsmouth War Memorial. I looked out to sea with the Spinnaker in the background and thought, ‘this is just the best day ever’!

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Looking comfortable at Mile 1

The first couple of miles can be a bit ‘handbags at dawn’ but runners are very polite to each other and considerate considering the amount of runners (25,000). I was a little surprised that people were already stopping to walk at mile 1 and 2 though!

Throughout the race there are lots of kids ‘high fiving’ and squealing with delight when you ‘gave them five’– Jelly babies are also being dished out at every mile, much to the relief of many runners! There are lots of different team runners taking part in this event or raising money for various charities. I was proud to represent the Fareham Crusaders this year.

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Jelly Babies!

Between mile 1 and 2 was the sounds of the Rose and Thistle bagpipe band. I no longer have my Scottish Nan and Grandad here and hearing the bagpipes always takes me back to days of sitting on my nan’s knee and listening to the Scottish bagpipes with my Grandad singing loudly in Scottish. It brought a lump to my throat and I looked up to the sky and wondered if my Grandparents were proud of me today.

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My Nanny and Grandad Brown

After running past the HMS Victory, Mile 2 allowed us the privilege of running through the cobbled streets of the Naval Dockyard. All runners know that there is a camera in here and a chance of getting on T.V – ‘Hi MUM!!!’ I screamed to the sniggers of the other runners!!!!

I heard my name being called and looked over to see my lovely friends Lyndsey Howell and Sarah Moulding dressed as Wonder women! Amazing! I looked back to the right, totally lost them again…

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WONDERWOMEN!!!!!!!

Onto mile 3 and 4 – onto Winston Churchill Avenue –‘Don’t look right, don’t look right’ – I can still remember Lorraine Rowe (a fellow Crusader) words echoing in my ear from a couple of years ago when I ran this race! – this is when runners are doubling back on themselves on the other side of the road. Once on the other side of the road, there was another band called the ‘Old Thumper Dixie’ – who were playing the steel pans – I gave them a massive clap as a ran past in appreciation.

Hampshire Terrace – 5 Miles! Whoop! I was happy that my Garmin confirmed I was running at the same Speed -Whoop!

Mile 5 to 6 took me back out to the seafront and the masses amount of crowds – I frantically tried to spot my family and finally spotted them and was met with whoops and cheers. My nephew gave me a massive hug and was shouting to everyone around him ‘That’s my Auntie Kerry, that’s my Auntie Kerry!’. I had to unpeel his arm from my neck to continue the run.

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Getting a massive squeeze from my Nephew Ellis!

In mile 6, I took the chance of running through the water jet washes – it was er…. Refreshing! Only after did I realise that I wasn’t wearing my waterproof mascara. Fail.

Mile 7 gave us again this year the sound of the Batala Drums. I absolutely love this band. The sounds are big and their colours are bright. It really does give you that little boost. I took a couple of jelly babies here and one went down the wrong way……

On mile 8 I struggled a bit with my hip after getting pain in the left one. I stopped for a bit…and glanced to my right – ‘C’mon Kezza, keep going – don’t let us beat you’ that angel on my shoulder – Lorraine again! Thanks Lorraine! I knew Lorraine was battling with a poorly foot and I thought – if Lorraine is doing it, I can’t give up now! Plus! I have a previous time of 1.39 to beat! Onwards I went – I decided to do my times table in my head to take my mind off things…

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Looking not so comfortable at mile 6 – ‘Shut up hip’!

I approached the pub The Florence on the corner to be met with my Brother in Law and his sister – both loudly cheering and offering me their beers! I looked on with envy at their golden nectars. Henderson Road didn’t disappoint again this year. All the residents were out in force! Mics, balloons, decks, loud music – what a crowd! Thanks guys! Please don’t ever stop this tradition! It is much appreciated by the runners!

Onto mile 8 and 9 – we were lucky this year, the wind was BEHIND us. This was a rare treat! My pace had slowed slightly… but I was determined not to stop…. Shut up hip!- just two more miles and we are home! Lots of other runners were making the common mistake of taking off too quickly here and were found walking a couple of yards further up. I kept my focus on that pier and watched it get bigger and bigger. Not long to go.

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Keeping my eye on the prize!

A final few hundred meters to go… the home stretch… I tried to spot my family again in the crowd but without success…. Right, time for that sprint finish that I save in the tank….

I made it home with a very respectable 1.36!

I am very pleased with my time as it is 3 minutes off my last time. It was a very welcome surprise. I spotted my friend Emma Smale in the crowd – she was an unbelievable 38 seconds in front of me. I think that goes to show how busy the event actually is. Time for a team photo with the girls..

I made my way to ‘B’ on Castle fields and met my proud family – we exchanged hugs before I hobbled back to the car with my Dad.

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Finish line celebrations with the two sisters

 

Until Next Year GSR!

 

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