Chinese celebrations…

What better way to start my training than on beautiful morning with cloudless blue skies and a perfect cool breeze!  Sound the alarms, set off the fireworks, firecrackers, dragon dance or wotnot… the official countdown has started.. whoooo hoooooooooo – bit excited? too much caffeine? yep bit of all of that thanks… wow – a year only and no doubts time will fly!

I haven’t run for a week – the ends of  ANOTHER FRIGGING COLD… (thank you nursery.. you have more germs than the plague) and a lot of flying around the country for work & play.. plus a personal project are keeping me more than busy at the moment.  However today’s the day I pencilled in as the official ‘start date’, so it is so!

Today’s trot was a four mile run consisting of two mile straight run and 2 miles ‘Jeffing’ back to home, Tesco’s and back.. nothing glam.  Then I put Jillian Michaels 30 day shred on, level 3 (what was I thinking?) and destroyed that too… yeah!  The shred is absolutely brilliant and I really noticed the difference when I did this before not only with my core strength, but with my running too, it was incredible.

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frizzy hair, rock hands…

 

Unlike before, I am not intending on doing it every day but it will certainly be a regular part of my training routine. I aim to update here once a week on my training, so I am accountable, and share how its making me feel / results and all that jazz.

Nutrition

I’m not going ‘balls to the wall’ deprivation/starvation diet – but starting by sensibly cutting back and laying down some ground rules really.  First rule I am enforcing is no weekday drinking – this is going to be hell.. but a necessary hell all the same.  The dehydrating effects of alcohol can wake me up at night and when I am awake I find it very hard to get back to sleep again, which then effects my ability or motivation to workout the next day.  So that’s my first rule… set in stone.

Yesterday I had my last weekday beer and last glass of ‘Secco… this was to raise a toast to my best friend who is leaving our workplace for pastures new… as sad as it was its great for her.  Life keeps changing and moving forwards and so should we… so this morning I cracked on with my training with gusto.

Here’s to a total transformation, and possibly the biggest challenge I will face…

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RIP my weekday tipple

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It begins! Annus horribilis… or bliss?

This Saturday, thousands of runners will be bracing themselves to take on the epic Great Wall of China marathon.. after months of dedicated training, sacrifice and pain they experience one of the hardest marathons known to man! That will be me in one years’ time! what the heck!

Thankfully my runner fam picked me up from a confidence wobble the other day, where I contemplated the half rather than full marathon, they all have the confidence in me to bring home the bacon on the day and get the full 26.2 in.

My reasoning being that I could train and do the best job of a half marathon as possible, rather than go the whole hog which just seems so daunting right now, the huge elevations, thousands of steps and heat – it just all sank into me what a massive, epic challenge this was BUT, do you know what… they’re right… why bother flying half the way around the world for a halfie… why not just do my best at the full.. even if I am the last one over the line, I would’ve still completed the damn thing like everyone else.

Its time now to face my fears and really throw down the gauntlet.  Been speaking to some running coaches about training and getting my plan in place (I’ll share that here next week).  Also consulted the lovely Nicola who will taking on the ‘experience’ too, to pick her brains about the best nutrition and training plan.  Feeling much more positive now! I was honestly quite happy to do the halfie and hold the drinks and canapés for Nic when she finished the full… no chance now.

Even bought these… note the fake tan is to stop blinding people with my milk bottle legs ..I may sneak out the house while no-one else is up… not worn shorts since 2003!

Get busy living, or get busy dying..

Its been years since I watched the Shawshank Redemption and its no shocker to say how much I thoroughly enjoyed it when I popped it on the other night.

Stephen King, to me, is one of the greatest modern American authors.  I am not a great reader by any means, but there has always been something about his work, his imagination, that has resonated with me.  The Shawshank Redemption in my opinion, is one of his greatest stories, and the words ‘Get busy living, or get busy dying’ stuck with me long after I watched the film.

How many of us go through each day, without actually enjoying it?  On the hamster wheel with work and home life/housework and another day has passed, just like any other.  All of us deserve more than this – we are more than our jobs, titles,  or anything else that we have been labelled with.

Which brings me onto the reason for this post, finally!  Recently I placed another order of coffee pods, the order previous to that hadn’t been that long ago and made  me take stock of how much coffee I was actually drinking on a daily basis. Eep, it worked out to be 6 cups (or sometimes more) a day. Not good!

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Reason that I have been reaching for my standard black Americano is that I am constantly ‘knackered’, dragging myself to bed as soon as I can, lacking motivation for anything and we all know this level of caffeine will disturb sleep patterns (and god knows what other health issues).

But its not just caffeine  I’ve been reaching for, its been sugar and salt too to give me energy – and unfortunately all this has piled on half a stone since this time last year, n matter how many miles I have run, you just can’t outrun a bad diet…

Now I am training hard for the Great Wall marathon, I decided to do a bit of research to combat this fatigue and fell upon Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome…

Adrenal Fatigue is a decrease in the adrenal glands’ ability to carry out this normal function. It is commonly caused by chronic stress from any source (including emotional, physical, mental, or environmental) that exceeds the body’s capacity to adjust appropriately to the demands placed on it by the stress.

Well I could very well fall into this category… looking at the symptoms, I tick every box.

  • Difficulty getting up in the morning
  • Inability to handle stress
  • Regular and unexplained fatigue
  • Cravings for salty foods
  • Mild depression
  • Insomnia
  • Overuse of stimulants like caffeine
  • A weak immune system (4 colds in 2017 alone)

Whether I have Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome or not I don’t know but I decided to check out how to battle it.  It can’t hurt, as the treatment is healthy lifestyle changes rather than anything drastic.

First things first I decided to focus on two areas this week rather than overwhelm myself with the lot;

Caffeine:  I have cut back on my cup of Joe.  Just having 3 a day, and drinking more water and herbal tea.  I’ve noticed the benefits of this after only 2 days in – feeling more awake and better within myself (emotionally).

Sleep: My daughter is nearly three and mostly sleeps in with us even after we have plastered her bedroom with Frozen posters and millions of toys! She has a habit of kicking out and mostly all night I will get kicked in the back, chest or face! So I normally get a very interrupted nights sleep.  This has got to stop, for our sakes and for hers.  So slowly trying to get her back in her own bed now.  With my husband on nights I tend to do the most childcare out of the two of us, and just need some space to myself even at night in bed.

So onwards and upwards – I have been swapping out some of my go-to bad food ‘crisps and chocolate’ for better, healthier, options.  Not looking at calorie content at the moment but choices, so been eating nuts, boiled eggs, hummus rather and will continue on with this…

Lastly, in prep for the Great Wall I have ordered a new aerobic step – the old one I finally found in the garage and managed to crush and break in the garage door (long story) so as soon as this arrives I will dig out my old Cher aerobic step routine which I did religiously back in the day! I actually can’t wait. Old Skool!

Hope you are doing well with your training and enjoying Spring as it seems to have finally arrived 🙂

The Great Wall Marathon plans 2018

Well, the last few weeks have been interesting… I have made the monumental decision to enter the Great Wall marathon 2018 and set this as a goal to put all my efforts into.  I’ve no races planned this year at all … but there’s something about this event that has me hooked.

Its not quite like a normal marathon of ‘plodding the miles’, it has over 5,000 steps to navigate (5,164 to be precise for the full marathon) and revered as one of the worlds challenging marathons.

Established since 1999 its run every third Saturday of May each year.  Whether I do the full or half marathon is yet to be decided (based on my fitness levels at the time of booking) but my hankering to re-visit the Great Wall as well as being back in China is something I can’t ignore for much longer.

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From 1992-1996 I spent 4 years living it up as an expat in Hong Kong, (the days of 9 hours of Thai Boxing per week and every other night on the booze are long gone) and had the chance to visit Beijing and see the beautiful Forbidden City, Summer Palace and many other of jaw-dropping tourist attractions.  Its always been somewhere I have wanted to return to.

 

Researching and chatting to some YouTubers who have completed the half and full Great Wall marathons, they have all advised to do plenty of squats and lunges for the steps and to concentrate on this rather than getting the mileage in.  The steps add hours onto your normal marathon time, which isn’t a problem for me as I have no marathon time.

So my Jeff Galloway technique of training for this event is perfect and after 3 x 10 squats and 3 x 10 lunges yesterday, I can really feel the DOMs today and know I need to concentrate on strength more and continue to train injury free with Jeff’s technique.  Its my best chances of getting through the event in one piece.  Ohh did I mention it will be hot and humid too – 30 degrees Celsius? I need to step up with hydration quite significantly.

Elevations… (gulp).elevationmap2016As you can imagine, the package itself isn’t cheap, there are a few tour operators offering overseas runner packages with sight-seeing options (Ming Tombs etc), and that’s the only way to get race entry.. ohh and this expense would be on top of potentially buying a house this year too!  BUT, I have my heart set on this AND its a once in a lifetime event to attend.  Interestingly enough, the cost will be the same for my husband (not sure for my daughter) – so they may as well do the 5k fun run on offer!

Plenty of hill training for me, plenty of swimming, running, squats, lunges, burpees …. this is going to be HARD – BUT its also achievable if I focus and get serious and of course its very, very exciting.

Already been bugging some of my ultra and fell running friends for advice and plenty of training with them up hills and pushing myself. Most importantly will be the mental challenge of this… I need to get tougher inside and out.

I’ll be blogging and vlogging my training journey as a journal for myself to look back on my progress.

14 months to go… the countdown starts.

Have a good weekend all. xx