Thursday, 27 March 2014

9 days and counting...

With only 9 days to go before Brighton, I'm feeling rather apprehensive.
The training has been done, I've got my fitness up, I'm carb loading (I think this is the same as my normal eating though...) and I feel ready. Sort of.

I have to say that my final long training run of 20 miles wasn't a wholly pleasant experience. Feeling rather despondent at the prospect of running by myself, I enlisted the help of a friend (thank you Fiona of Rayleigh Road Runners!) and we trecked across the Essex sea front. We kept a steady pace, tackled the mild hills and ran around the big ones, and we did it.
After hobbling back to my parents' place I had a bath, checked myself for injuries (surprisingly intact toenails! Hurrah!) but was appalled to see that my fingers had swollen up. They looked like sausages! I decided to wait 30 minutes then check them again. Still huge. Googling 'swollen fingers after running' on my iPhone was tricky, as my digits were so unwieldy, but it turns out this is a normal phenomenon after holding your arms up for such a long time. Phew.

Fat fingers aside, training for the marathon has been an immensely positive experience. It has been a unique opportunity to test myself physically and emotionally. I've learned about how delicately balanced the body is, and how interconnected the body and mind are (thanks to the brilliant osteopath Lucy). I've eaten many many cakes with absolutely no guilt.

I'm so happy that come 6th April, I'll not only be able to achieve something hugely positive for me, but I'll be able to say that I've helped Burgh House. It is such a unique and wonderful place, and deserves to be cared for and enjoyed by many generations to come.
Including mydonate donations and cheques, the total we've raised in sponsorship is almost £1000 -  thank you so much to everyone who has donated!

I'd like to boost this in the next week or so.
Not only will sponsorship help us keep Burgh House open and free, it will help us maintain our unique collections, develop our permanent exhibitions to include more about the history of this building and its inhabitants, and help people to continue to enjoy it to the full.

I look forward to seeing you there soon!

Becky x

Friday, 31 January 2014

Foodie Friday and only 65 days to go!

As my training runs are increasing in length, so too is my appetite! Whilst I’m attempting to keep my diet healthy, I am craving carbs and craving cakes, to be more specific! Fortunately the Burgh House Buttery is in plentiful supply. YUM


My longest run to date has been 12.2 miles, which was a hard slog! I split the run into two 6.5 mile loops, stopping for 5 minutes in the middle to eat an energy gel and drink some water. I have only just started using gels, as I haven’t really run long enough distances to warrant taking them before now. Fuelling during runs is completely new to me, and I’m also only just appreciating how much healthy eating impacts the way I feel and how well I run too.
I recently purchased EasyNutrition for Runners, which I’m looking forward to devouring (pun intended hehe). Interestingly, ultra marathoner  Scott Jurek advocates eating ‘real’ food during long runs, and has also adopted a completely plant based diet which he credits for his amazing endurance and running ability. I have just ordered Scott Jurek’s book Eat and Run, so am looking forward to absorbing that for some tips and inspiration.

The marathon is just 65 days away! Eek. To prepare, I will be running the Hampton Court half marathon  on Sunday 23rd February, which I’m really looking forward to! I’m going to run it as part of my training rather than as a race, so will just aim to get round comfortably and pain free. I’m still having some knee issues but have been seeing a brilliant London based osteopath  who has pinpointed the problem and has been working towards correcting it.

If you’d like to come and cheer me on at the Hampton Court half please do! And please do consider sponsoring me for the Brighton Marathon in April! I’m running to raise money for Burgh House, a brilliant, free to enter historic house and museum in the heart of beautiful Hampstead. To donate click here Every pound makes a huge difference!



Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Training Tuesday 4

I am now in week two of marathon training! This is a frightening/exciting prospect for two reasons. Firstly, it reminds me that at the end of this week, there are just 16 weeks left until I run 26 miles. Eek! Secondly, every week I'll be running further than I've ever run before! From now on, my Sunday mornings will involve running a mile further than the previous week, which kicked off with a 6 miler last Sunday.

I have only run 7 miles in one go once before, but due to some difficult lessons feel that I now know (generally) how to prepare for these longer runs.

Here is an example of my most difficult running lesson:

I won a competition last year to take part in the Adidas Thunder Run 2012 as part of the Womens and Mens Running magazine team. I entered the competition because I love running in the countryside, and the course looked beautiful! My team mates were all so nice, but I don't think I had any idea how hard it was going to be running at least 3 10ks in 24 hours. It turned out much harder than I thought. I had run a few 10ks previously using no training plans, and had just run a rather muddy hilly cross country 10k that I had not prepared for. Little did I know, the ache in my ankle was achilles tendinopathy, which morphed from a niggle into excrutiating pain during my second 10k of the Thunder Run - that I ran in the middle of the night. I liked the prospect of running at night (there is a video on the internet somewhere that attests to this) but as soon as I started the lap my hips ached, my legs felt like lead and my achilles hurt like anything.
Needless to say I fell over at around mile 4, cutting my knee open (I still bear the scar) and crying with frustration more than pain. I hobbled back and finished the lap in 1:20 hrs. My team mates were all consistently running 40-50 minute 10ks so this was quite embarrassing. And it was all my fault, I only had myself to blame for poor preparation.
The lesson: learn how to prepare for long runs!

After this experience (which I am grateful for-thank you Women's Running!) I consulted a physiotherapist, had a sports massage and 6 months off running, then researched getting strong and organising my training. Following the Hal Higdon plan, I feel I'm being sensible. I've actually stepped down to a Novice 1 plan, which is an even better idea for me, as it has taken the frequency and distance of my runs up just a little notch. A managable, safe, injury free notch. In addition to a sensible plan (indeed a plan!) I have decided to schedule in regular sports massages for my knotty legs and tight calf muscles, have bought a foam roller and am still endeavouring to factor in strength training in the shape of squats, lunges, planks whenever I can.

I had a mini lightbulb moment during my 6 mile run on Sunday when I got half way round the circuit and realised that I felt really good. Nothing hurt. I wanted to continue running. And I was enjoying myself! I got quite emotional.

I'll never be a brilliant runner, and don't think that I'll ever run 40 minute 10ks like my Thunder Run team mates, but with any luck and a lot of preparation, I'll be able to run the marathon.