VLM…18 Days to Go…..

18 Days to go…18…. shucks!

Well, you will be pleased to hear that since my last blog, I am feeling much more positive.  I won’t lie, I have found the training really, really hard.  I run on my toes and have found running on my forefoot for 20 miles, just excruciating.  On the plus side, my calves look amazing (and are bigger than my quads!).

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On Sat, I took off on my own for a 20 miler.  I ran down to Lee on Solent Parkrun, and then back along Lee to Hill Head up through Titchfield and back home.  I got lost at one point and had to ask a cyclist where I was going….much to his amusement.  My 20 miler ended up being 2 miles of walking (hills and due to how much pain I was in with my poor swollen knee).  Unfortunately, I have the dreaded ‘Runner’s Knee’ which can only be blamed on gait issues and a massive increase in mileage.  I have pretty much accepted the fact that there will be some walking on the day,  but you know what, I am absolutely cool with it.  The views on my run were amazing….

I am feeling a whole array of emotions at the moment – dread, fear, nausea, anxiety, excitement and trepidation.  I am really enjoying the light evenings and as much as I love the sunshine, I am hoping it won’t get too much warmer.  I have been trying to change my mindset about the marathon and looking at it like a ‘day out’ rather than a frantic dash to the finish line! Liz Yelling has literally hit the nail on the head with her comment about the final stages of training….

Liz Yelling – The final 2 weeks of the marathon prep is more about training your mind. Learn how to positively re- frame and think of mantras or dedicate certain people to a part of the course. You can do this…
I have also been training much smarter and set my Garmin to scream at me if I am going over a certain pace.  The pace is irrelevant, it’s all about the distance.  In fact training for this marathon has really shown me how much I have been obsessing about pace.  I have only ever ran two 10 mile runs, the rest have been 10k’s so I really have taken a big leap! (I don’t do things by half).  I have been surprised with how my pace has steadied and never really understood it until I started training.

 

I have been training with a really great guy called Paul Pickford ( Twitter – https://twitter.com/pickfordpj). For those who don’t know this crazy cat, he runs ultra distances.  He has to be the most humble runner I have ever met.  He usually runs at a very quick pace but he has been really happy to plod alongside me and offer encouragement and support.  Paul has been like my very own agony Uncle and picked me up just at the right time when I was ready to quit.  Thank you Paul.  Also a massive thank you to Sarah Moulding (Twitter – https://twitter.com/Only_m_e) who has also ran with me or has checked in regularly after a long run to make sure I was safe and that I was mentally okay.  These sort of people in your life make so much difference when you are struggling on your training runs. Here we are on our 18 mile run..

 

So now, I have reached taper time.  I can’t believe how excited I feel about this! My longest run in the next three weeks leading up to the marathon will be 10 miles.  I will be running the Salisbury 10 mile race but again will be treating it as a training run.  I have been continuing with my yoga, which I am really enjoying and have started looking seriously at my nutrition.

 

Lastly, I have decided to run for a charity for the London Marathon.  I didn’t want to choose one so early in case of injury.  After much deliberation, I have decided to run for ‘Second Chance’ which is a local animal charity which looks after abused, orphaned and neglected animals.  I wanted to ensure that 100% of the charity money raised, went to the cause.  If you would like to sponsor me, I would be forever grateful and here is the link.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/MissKB

Until then! it’s Taper time!

May your Runs be long and your injuries afew!

Kezza x

 
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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?

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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 – 68 Days to go…

Time seems to be slipping through my fingers at this point and although I am now up to 12 miles, it has not been easy.  I am still running 3 times a week.  My Sunday is my longer run, followed by a Tuesday recovery run, and a Thursday night 8 miler. I have started eating A LOT and napping whenever I get the chance.

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Sleepy cuddles with Papa Smurf

Since my last blog, I have been up to London to the Virgin London Marathon ‘Ask The Experts’, it really was a great day and I learnt a lot.  I was a bit skeptical about going up on my own but I met so many different people and runners from all over the country – amazingly there were over a thousand runners there!  The day was more for first time marathon runners like myself and it was a chance to find out what to expect on the day, get injury advice and other things such as, what to wear on the day.  Ultimately, it was about learning how to get the most out of potentially, one of the best days of your life.

Guests included – Hugh Brasher (the son of the Founder of the London Marathon), Shannon Foudy (one in a million runner from VLM 2016), Sport Psychologist – Josie Perry, Kerry McCarthy (The Editor from Runners World) and many more including a great talk from Martin Yelling.  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Liz Yelling (Martin’s wife) at the Fareham Crusader Question and Answer Session, and she is also ridiculously knowledgeable in all things running related. There was a #reasontorun booth too – take a look at my picture!  My reason to run is to make my friends and family proud, but like my good friend Neil Smith suggested – you should also be running London to make YOURSELF proud – he has a good point!

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#reasontorun

Adidas were also there and I went a bit crazy on purchasing some official London Marathon kit at discounted price.  I’m terrified of wearing it BEFORE the actual event though as I feel it would be tempting fate!  The official colour this year though appears to be blue for the ladies, with peach detail. I love it!

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Adidas gave us a sneak preview!

The day after ‘Ask the Experts’, I ran my longest run with some awesome ladies who were great company.  Most of our run consisted of overlooking the solent at Lee. The miles go by so much quicker when running with friends, you really do get to know each other really well! I have to be honest, I struggled with the last mile.  Because I run on my forefoot, my calves were absolutely screaming by mile 11 and I was tempted to stop.  Thanks to the girls, they kept me going for one more mile…. Keep an eye on the back page of Women’s Running next month, you may just spot us ;0)

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Cathy Pittick, me and Joy Smith…we love a good natter!

Yesterday I had a ‘short run’ (ahem indeed), this involved 8 miles with more running friends. I again struggled on the last mile and so I need to dig out my Psychology textbooks and practice what I preach. My next long run is 14 miles… I’m worried I will get half way round and need to jump on a bus…

How is your training going?

How have you coped with the increased mileage?

Follow me on Twitter @ukrungirl

 

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

My training so far for the Virgin London Marathon has not gone to plan…. The latter part of last year I found myself with hip niggles and required a steroid jab in the joint.   Two weeks into my training and I decided to stupidly train in the cold with a chest infection which resulted in trip to the hospital with Pneumonia.  AHHHHHHHH…. Panic well and truly set in….

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After my complete melt down, I started to put things into perspective.  This is real life, things are going to get into the way – illnesses and injuries will occur.  I’m not an Olympian, I’m not running a good for age place and I’m not going for a PB (whatever time I run, it will be a PB as I’m a first timer)….

Having got the green light from my Doctor I was told that I could return to running albeit slowly as I would have reduced lung capacity for a while.  I was also told that I needed to keep warm which is a mission in its self at the moment with the weather on the verge of snowing…so it was time to visit the dreadmill….

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View from the ‘dreadmill’

I managed a very gentle walk / run on the treadmill but nothing beats running outside – taking in the all the sights, and sounds… nonetheless, I am grateful to be able to be back into training……all be it gentle.

And so it’s back to the training plan.  I am currently using the ASICS one (Asics.com) which sets me training sessions of three a week.  In between these sessions, I will also be cross training, Body Pump and Yoga.  I have recently taken up James Dunn’s 30 day challenge which concentrates on stretching, conditioning and resilience training for runner.  Today’s session looked like this –

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I will keep you updated with how this is going at a later date.  I am RIDICULOUSLY injury prone and I am hoping this is going to make me a stronger runner by conditioning muscles I use regularly. (If you want to try this out yourself, check out http://www.kinetic-evolution.com)

From next week the mileage starts to build.  Goodbye Sundays! I have been advised that tiredness is a side effect of pneumonia and so at least I can look forward to lots of sleep and sofa days!

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Other aspects I really need to sort is my DIET! Dry January is working well for me so far, but I still can’t refuse those pesky crisps. I can easily eat three packets a day and still crave for more…

Luckily I have a really good support network and belong to a fantastic club called the Fareham Crusaders.  I also have a close group of runners who I run with – I think this has a massive impact on your state of mind.  Like all of us, I need a kick up the arse sometimes, or a massive reality check.

My aim is to enjoy the experience and be prepared for any challenges that may crop up between now and April.  A wise person once said to me ‘if it doesn’t feel fun, don’t force the run’.  I’m not totally naïve in thinking that the training is going to be all sunshine and flowers, but with a positive mind-set, supportive club and trusting in my own ability and training, I can make the journey  a smoother one.

Follow me on twitter and lets swap training stories! (@ukrungirl)

Are you in the London Marathon?

Is your training going to plan?

Have you been met with any unexpected obstacles?

 

May your miles be many and your injuries a few..

Kezza x

 

 

 

 

VLM Training -96 Days to go…

Lakeside Portsmouth Parkrun

Massive congratulations to the 168 runners (47 first timers) and hardcore volunteers who braved the bitterly cold temperature for yesterday’s Lakeside Parkrun.

Yesterday was my first time at Lakeside and it certainly won’t be my last – whilst writing this report, I was surprised to learn that this is the 31st week at Lakeside. As a Fareham Crusader, a few of us met there to celebrate Allie Hodgson’s 50th Parkrun. Upon arrival I was delighted to be able to find the ‘start’ location without any delay due to its luminous sign. I sat in my car with my heated seats on for as long as I could get away with!

Soon it was time to leave the warm comfort of the car and join the debrief for first timers at Lakeside. Having just returned from injury with a strained hip flexor, I was slightly nervous, I need not have worried, everyone at Parkrun is so friendly and there is such a mixture of age group and abilities – everyone is so welcoming. The only competition is with yourself.

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Our wonderful Volunteers – without them – Parkrun couldn’t happen!

 

Soon we were directed to the start line and we were off. It was a rather steady start for me and my usual 9mm pace had dropped to 10.45mm. I think this was a mixture of the cold and my hip taking its time to warm up. It was nice to not run competitively and just enjoy the atmosphere, and chat to other runners. It was also lovely to see a mixture of other club runners there including Stubby’s and Gosport runners – despite being in different clubs- we are all very supportive of each other.

The first mile led us towards the under path and back on ourselves towards the path (which seemed to last forever). I seemed to have warmed up after the first mile and gave Jessica Masey (a fellow Crusader) a tap on the bottom as I passed her. We ran all the way to the waiting photographer, gave a big thumbs up, and looped again… more high fives to fellow Crusaders. I saw a couple of runners who I usually run with, running their home stretch to the finish line. It made me feel a bit sad – but then I thought -how lucky I am to be able to run at all.

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A very cold but beautiful setting

 

I loved the Lakeside Parkrun, the settings are beautiful and you seem to be shielded from the wind which is a bonus! It’s also nice and flat which means that there is massive PB potential for the more competitive runner!

I knew that a PB was not in sight for me today, but I still managed to get my signature sprint in at the end… albeit, I did get overtaken by an 8 year old and thanked my lucky stars a photographer wasn’t there to capture the magic moment.

There were a massive 45 PB’s this week which is just incredible. Perhaps everyone was running harder to keep warm?!

I thanked the volunteers at the end and ate some of Allie’s biscuits, I then made my way to Starbucks for a signature hot choccy! Until next week Parkrun!

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My running family – The Fareham Crusaders

 

Have you ran Lakeside?

What’s your favourite Parkrun course and why?

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!

 

Did you run the GSR?!

Did you PB?

Are you wondering whether to run the GSR for the first time?!

The 40’s Club….

Well, my 40th Birthday has been and gone and I find myself calm. Surprisingly calm. I felt more anxiety saying goodbye to my 20s than I did to my 30s. Perhaps I’m ok with it because I keep being told I don’t look my age. Why am I feeling surprisingly ok (ish) about my big 4.0? Perhaps it’s because I ride the hell out of life… and that I came to realise in my thirties that ‘this is it’. This is life. In my 20’s, I lived in a never ending quest of looking for the next buzz…. Constantly looking for that high. I have come to realise that life isn’t like that. Life plods along… you get the highs and you get the lows but ultimately I am happy with my lot. As a wise person once said, we should “not regret growing older; it’s a privilege denied to many.”

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My Wild Nights in Ibiza…many a moons ago…

 

Whilst I can’t eat as much as I used to without gaining a few pounds and my boobs are swinging a little bit lower, my head is held a wee bit higher. My skin has stretched and my clothes keep shrinking in the wash, but hell yeah I feel comfortable with it. I feel good and proud about my achievements and the choices I have made as well as making sure i surround myself with amazing people. As the lines on my face grow deeper, so do my relationships. Each moment of awe, each belly laugh has made its mark on my face and in my heart — and I wouldn’t erase a single one.

 

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Laughter is good for the soul…

 

 

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I am my happiest in the water…. and with good company

 

Why should it matter? I don’t feel 40, but when I turned 30, I didn’t feel that, either. I don’t know what it is supposed to feel like but why should I even spend time worrying about it? In fact, even our biological changes are pretty inconsistent. There are twenty-year-olds who suffer from serious illness. There are forty-year-olds in perfect health. There are twenty-year-olds with grey hair. There are forty-year-olds with six-pack abs. There are thirty-year-olds who run five miles every morning; there are thirty-year-olds who are unable to do a single sit-up.

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My 40th year and still ripping it up….

 

 

I’ve still got a lot to learn. A. LOT.  But this is what I have learnt so far…

  • I can’t please everybody but I can be kind to everybody
  • Make people feel great about themselves.
  • Spending time with loved ones is a PRIVILEGE (denied to many)
  • I know what I want, and who matters (and who doesn’t!)
  • You can be the ripest peach in the bowl but there will always be someone who doesn’t like peaches.
  • Life isn’t a popularity contest.
  • Spend your life on experiences, not things.
  • Respect mother nature
  • Wear sensible shoes (I NEVER would have said this in my 20’s)
  • Look after your back.
  • Get enough sleep
  • Read books!
  • Stop fretting about what people think about you – most of the time they are not even thinking about you anyways!
  • Make time for your friends.
  • Let it go.
  • Weddings and babies bring out the best – and the worst in people….
  • Support other women in their successes. Mentor younger women
  • Be inspiring
  • Run, but listen to your body
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I love to run and I’m proud of my club…

 

 

  • Stop chasing perfection
  • Treasure your parents
  • Listen to your body and your gut instinct. It’s usually right.
  • Create your own luck
  • Work hard
  • Fill your life with the experiences that you love and you will see your life start to change
  • Return everything you borrow
  • Give clothes you don’t wear to a charity
  • Do something nice and try not to get caught
  • Strive for excellence, not perfection
  • Be on time
  • Be kind to unkind people
  • Take time to be alone
  • Not everyone likes babies and children
  • Not everyone likes puppies and dogs
  • Remembering the 5-year rule – if it won’t matter in 5 years…move on.
  • Don’t drop friends for boys…
  • A bad boy will always stay just that.
  • Your sisters are probably your most loyal friends
  • Your mother always knows the score
  • Wild hair (and people) can never be tamed.
  • Paradise won’t always be home
  • People come and go and it has absolutely nothing to do with what you did.
  • Sing & Dance – it burns calories
  • A good cuppa makes any problem seem so much smaller
  • Your best friend doesn’t have to live around the corner
  • Neither does your best friend always come in the human form. Woof.

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  • Try a new hobby every year…go on! you might like it!
  • Sometimes there is no point trying to understand people. (My motto is ‘trying to understand some people is like picking up a shitty stick from the clean end)
  • Don’t use your phone at the dinner table.
  • The sun gives you skin cancer
  • Use factor 50
  • People are obsessed with age.
  • Never adhere to society in what you should be doing at 21, 30, 40 etc etc BORING

I am feeling excited as to what my 40’s will bring.  A new era.. full of new adventures! Come join me….

Kezza xx

 

Achilles Tendinopathy

If you’re reading this, chances are you are suffering with Achilles issues…. you’ve probably searched high and low… searched for answers in various search engines- bought books, ‘hash tagged’ in Twitter.   Am I right? I’ve been there, probably for a good year.  Pretty much tried everything to get rid of the dreaded Achilles tendonitis… or Tendinopathy which is what it is now commonly known as.  Apparently it is no longer called Tendonitis as this assumed swelling and inflammatory in the Achilles for which there is hardly none due to the lack of blood supply in this area. I can honestly say in the 25 years of being active, this has been my most frustrating injury.  It just sits there stubbornly, reminding you every time you put your sock on or pressing on your clutch pedal that it’s still there.. Just as I thought it was getting back on track, it would start niggling again. Sound familiar?

The name Achilles derives from the ancient Greek Mythology – ‘ Achilles’ heel’ and is a popular name for a person’s most vulnerable spot or biggest weakness. The term derives from the legend that the great warrior Achilles who was dipped in the River Styx by his mother, a sea goddess named Thetis, who held her infant son by one heel, and covered him with the waters that would make him immortal. Because she held his heel, it remained dry, and became the only vulnerable place on Achilles. See, you learn something new every day…

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Achilles tendinopathy is a condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness of the Achilles tendon that joins your heel bone to your calf muscles. It is thought to be caused by repeated tiny injuries to the Achilles tendon. These may occur for a number of reasons, including overuse of the tendon – for example, in runners. Treatment includes rest, ice packs, painkillers and special exercises to help to stretch and strengthen the Achilles tendon. For most people, the symptoms of Achilles tendinopathy usually clear within 3-6 months of starting treatment.

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You won’t need to ever question whether you have this frustrating injury, believe me, you will know.  At first the pain in my Achilles was just merely a niggle, I had ramped up my training quite quickly for the Great South Run… Ramping up speed and training is a complete no no… esp if you run like me – on your tippy toes. I think they call this forefoot running? 🙂  The pain would subside after 3 miles, no drama.  Come two months later, the pain didn’t actually leave my right heel… fabulous.  I proceeded to run a Parkrun and felt the most excruciating pain – although continued to run on it… I then threw in a hill session (just for good measure) with the club on the following Tuesday night and found myself completely out… just like that…

My first mistake I have already mentioned – ramping up the mileage and training too quickly.  Secondly, I was wearing the wrong trainers.  I was not so kindly provided with trainers for a ‘neutral’ runner only to be told later that I was actually over pronating so needed some trainers for that extra support.

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majorly supportive

 

Back to the physio I went… back on the sweaty couch.  Turns out I had a misalignment of my hips where one hip was sat slightly above the other one… this meant that one leg was overcompensating for the other and thus causing an imbalance. It also didn’t help that I had spent the last 20 something years wearing stilettos all day at work and had completely shortened my calves.  I also run on my toes, so even though my calves look amazing in a dress, when I’m running, the amount of strain I am placing on the bottom part of my legs is incredible.  Your glutes should be doing ALL the work – this is why the backside is called the ‘powerhouse’ and is the biggest muscle in the body.  I’ve got to be honest, I think mine have sunk into a coma.  Sitting on one’s butt in an office does not help so I would advise squats to wake them up a bit.

So how did I fix this stubborn injury? I apologise for following word – RESTING. I know, I know… I can sense you rolling your eyes… but think of the Achilles as lots of little bricks…. when it is injured the bricks are all facing in different directions… so resting helps settle everything down and ensure that the bricks are all calmed down and facing the right way – the medical term for the break down in the Achilles is degeneration.  So basically, the more you do, the worse it will get! ‘SOWWY’.  SO. what did I do whilst resting…. let me tell you..

  1.  Heel Dips (15 per day), Heel Raises (15 per day) – the raises STRENGTHEN the calve and the Achilles.  The dips LENGTHEN the calve / Achilles.  Even now, I still do this every. single. day. You do have time! Do it when you are brushing your teeth!
  2. Massage nightly – get yourself some cheap baby oil, and massage that baby out.  There is a lack of blood flow in this area which means it is going to take double the time to heal.  Help it along.
  3. Achilles Brace – I bought mine online – you are supposed to sleep in it but I found that when I had woken up in the morning, it had been ripped off. the aim is to keep your foot in the same place for the maximum amount of time possible to promote the  healing process.
  4. The right trainers! I can’t stress this enough..Orthotics – it might be worth investing in some orthotics if you feel that your injuries are being caused with the way you run.  Warning – they ARE expensive, but I have spoken to some runners at my club who have suggested that they wouldn’t be able to run if they didn’t have orthotics in their trainers.
  5. Running Gait – might be worth getting this checked out.
  6. REST! uh – huh – sorry…Try wearing an ankle support. I bought this lovely little CEP one from wiggle. there is padding on the Achilles area which basically rubs the Achilles as you run. Genius!  I bought mine from here – http://www.wiggle.co.uk/cep-achilles-brace/
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    Bought from Wiggle – so comfortable!

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  7. Wear compression socks or calve sleeves – keeps everything tight and compacted.
  8. Avoid HILLS – Speed sessions when you return to running and go GENTLE!
  9. Swim, cycle, spin, lift weighs – stay sane!
  10. Volunteer at park run – stay involved in the running community!

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    Volunteer at your local races and Parkrun’s! Stay involved!

  11. Shock Wave Therapy – Changed my life.  Okay, if you are squeamish or have a low pain threshold, this isn’t for you.  I can’t recommend this treatment enough.  The shockwaves are an abrupt, high amplitude pulses of mechanical energy, similar to soundwaves, generated by an electromagnetic coil or a spark in water. It is expensive yep… but totally worth it.  Sessions take about 20 minutes and can only be done in weekly intervals.  There are different levels from 1-10 (intense) so you can start at 1 and work your way up!  Loads of info here – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extracorporeal_shockwave_therapy

So how long is recovery? difficult question… it depends on the severity, whether you caught it in time and what you are doing to aid recovery. My injury was on and off for a good year. Maybe I will always have a weakness there…

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Grimacing for the camera

 

Since February of this year, my Achilles has been on its best behaviour. I can squeeze them really tightly and no pain which is bloody marvelous. My Achilles injury has really taught me to listen to my body – I’m perhaps over cautious nowadays but I don’t want to be sat out for ages and so have learnt never to push my luck like that again.  I hope this information is useful to you! Have you ever suffered from a debilitating injury and what did you do for recovery? How did you keep sane during the time! Would love to hear your stories!

Follow me on Twitter – @ukrungirl

Happy Running………….

My blogs – Views and Opinions are my own*