Strengthening up…

 

My first shuffle out post hols wasn’t that bad, it wasn’t huffed, puffed and grasping a fence with one hand as expected… in total I did 4.1. miles, broken up by a few traffic light stops plus had to walk a bit on a trail hill.  Not bad for two weeks off apart from 80 miles at Disney (mostly walked) and three small runs, which I am so glad I did as the first post-hols run would have been diabolical.  I think all the walking plus constant lifting up of Mia during those 2 weeks have managed to keep some of the Mickey waffle damage at bay, as well as keeping some sort of level of fitness.  So, all in all, was quite pleased with my effort and not out of shape as I thought.  Bath Half is looming in the Spring, so now training has officially commenced for that.

Concentrating on my breath more, slower intakes and deeper breathing, plus bringing my pace down (as advised by a friend who is doing a HR zone training plan) makes things a bit more comfortable plodding out the miles. I wish I had, but I didn’t take any pix on the run, but the weather was just beautiful, sun filtering through the trees, plus the trail was full of different coloured autumnal leaves. Gorgeous!  A pleasure to run in such a beautiful environment.  I’ll be back tomorrow for another shuffle…

Earlier this year I was in better shape, I had more tone, weighed less and had a solid core with all the Jillian Michaels strength training I was doing. A ten mile run was a breeze. Then, and quite foolishly looking back, I just went into a running only phase – which seemed to work against me, injuries.. you name it (its all been detailed in this blog) – so I thought for my winter training I would do more different types of training to accompany and better my running performance.

Pulling out some old exercise DVD’s I have done these….

  1. Pilates for Beginners: an old Christmas present and was just excellent, there is a lot of emphasis on breath control which is what I am looking at.  Some parts look easy when demonstrated, but when doing them myself found quite challenging. All in all I did 36 minutes precisely!
  2. Zumba: hadn’t done any in this set of DVD’s in a year and chose the strength one to start with (45 minutes in duration). Had SUCH A BLAST, so going to continue on with this once a week, all those squats have to be good for runner legs don’t they?
  3. Davina McCall: 30 minute workout, lunges with weights and HIIT training to maximise your time, this gave me MAJOR DOMS the next day and another reminder that my foam roller isn’t an ornament.
  4. Yoga with Toddlers: a 20 minute YouTube upload, it was fun seeing Mia try the yoga positions and copy Mum plus a bonus that got a lovely stretch routine in.
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Zumba-tastic

Next up I will try a couple more of my ‘celebrity’ DVD workouts, Charlie Brooks and Mel B! How these haven’t been thrown into the charity shop already is beyond me… and I have forgotten to mention P90x .. found that DVD set… that’s gonna be HARD. Ohh and dug out my skipping rope… oh boy…

Good luck to all training over the winter.. !  BRxx

 

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Running at Disney!

Well hello you fabulous lot!  Its been a while since I blogged – that’s because I have been soaking up the sun and getting some serious Disney miles stacked up, 80 miles!  over the past few weeks at Walt Disney World, Florida.  Not all of that was running, actually a very small percentage was running.  But I walked, and walked, and walked… for many, many miles around the parks and the whole Disney ‘area’ which is quoted as being the size of Manchester!

We left the UK while it was still mild, not really cold, but not really warm…and were then drenched in lovely sunshine when we got to Florida (the trip there was nasty via New York, which ended with me in tears on a bus, another story, another blog, another time).

We checked into the All Star Movies resort, one of Disney’s value resorts, which is located in the ‘Animal Kingdom’ area, first time we’ve stayed on site at WDW so to speak and it was utterly fabulous!  After a few days of getting used to the time difference, I tentatively went out for a short plod on their marked running trail which was a pathway running across the front of the 3 All Stars resorts which was a mile in length – it was a good chance to wear my running skort, probably for the last time for a while!  The route was heavily used by other runners which was great to see and in the absence of a gym in the hotel I guess this is how visitors got their workouts in each morning. Did the mandatory nods and thumbs up to the other runners, quite surprisingly with not much pleasantries in return…. All in all, I had three plods out over the two week period, I didn’t go far as I knew we’d have a mountain of miles to walk in the day, plus swimming too… just helped to fight back some of the Mickey waffle damage I was enduring!

The picture above includes a shot of shoes in a brilliant running store in Disney Springs, Fit2Run.  They have a brilliant collection of running items, including strollers, accessories,  supplements and more.  They had a Star Wars tech top – which I shockingly didn’t buy… may be next time.  I did purchase (or my husband did for me) a strap to hold my iPhone (my Garmin GPS is a bloody fail at locating me which is so frustrating).  I tried it on in the shop and it fit great!  Will report back after my first post-hols run this weekend, decided to start running with audio again – well Podcasts to keep me motivated as I am upping the mileage to train for the Bath Half HM.

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So now we enter PDD (post Disney depression), but and with a big BUT, Disney have just released their races for next year including Spring 2018 with a Star Wars dark side race… this is very, very tempting, and the husband DID agree to leave it a couple of years till our next Disney visit (it is 2 years really, in terms of numbers….).  lets see!

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In terms of other training, I have my swimming kit packed, plus have been doing Pilates and strength training this week, hello DOMS!  So lets see how I fare over the winter with training – I am in a much happier place, with the family healthier and a sense of renewal for the new year, I’m in good spirits…

Here’s a shot of the non-tech Star Wars top, I had to get this as it had 77 on the back… I’m an old Star Wars fan…. 🙂

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Do you listen to any podcasts while running?  Any recommendations?

BRxx

 

 

 

Autumn wishes…

Happy September everyone!  So VERY glad to see that my favourite month has arrived…Not that its my birthday coming up or an anniversary but the promise of  beautiful autumnal skies and a fresh air that is perfect for running in. #happy

I have always loved this time of year, the sense of slowing down and peacefulness, I can’t quite describe it really.  After this hectic year of various family in hospital and also my daughter, the promise of the last few months with things looking up in all direction is very enticing!

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My FB running group VRF’s is still going full guns and its been so successful that work have asked me to create one for them, they even featured VRF’s in the staff magazine , so this has kept me busy too!  I never meant it to be a running group but just a place to chat to my running friends I had met on social media, but its taken off with people forming friendships and meet-ups, and I have met some absolutely amazing people myself.  What a year its been!

 

Since Cheddar Gorge I’ve nursed a calf injury that had been off/on for a few weeks and it went 3k’s into the race and took a week of TLC to repair. I am now happy to report that I have been out for 2 runs since (just two miles a piece) and its been fine! Apart from going stir crazy for a week, its been good to get out and feel confident again in running.

The life of a runner has these ups and downs!  The last three months has been full of back injuries, kidney problems and generally crappy running since Swansea – a generally low spirit, but the last two runs I’ve been in a happy place.  Happy with the pace and performance and feel like I am back on track with it all.  I’ve switched off the voice prompts from my Strava too, and this has made life so much easier.  The pressure has been taken off in a positive way.

The 1000 mile challenge I completed too and got it in in JUST under a year.  These types of challenges, although stressful at times, are good for keeping me on track. So I may have a mini-challenge for myself to get a certain amount of miles in for September. We will see!  Nothing as extreme as the 1000 mile challenge again, but a mini-goal 🙂

I have a possible trail 10k coming up in Dartmoor in a couple of weeks, weather permitting (camping in the rain ain’t fun), and then the Bath Half next Spring to train for.  Other than that I can just see local 10k trail races for me next year and that makes me happy! 2016 was too full of clock watching and too much pressure, that isn’t happening for 2017!  I will leave 2016 a very different runner…

Hope you all have your running plans in place for the rest of the year, and enjoy the Autumn months… much love BB xx

 

NEW BLOG POST: In a happy place…

I seem to have found a very good balance since Swansea Half Marathon and learning from its silver linings.  Yesterday I decided to go walking with my family rather than an LSR (I’d normally be gone for 2+ hours with Gav at home left holding the baby so to speak) and enjoy the views in the beautiful  county of Gloucestershire, my adopted home!

The weather was simply glorious, we were originally going to go swimming (and it took me an hour of hunting down my cossie at home), but sacked it off for the walk instead. It was the best choice, a beautiful sunny Sunday to enjoy outside… what more could you ask for!  As a runner I want to get into walking/hiking more, I think its so important to value this part of the overall training.

Recovery from the Half Marathon was a complete week of rest, no training whatsoever! A rest and reassess was well deserved and welcomed.  Only downside is that it has delayed me in my quest in the 1000 miles a year challenge, but I am not going to stress about it, I can make it up!

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Crickley Hills… beautiful

I’ve been glugging my green boost powder drink too to boost my greens and goodness and build me back up again (I’m completely bone-achingly lethargic after a big run).  So far so good, I feeling much more energetic and sleeping very well, last night I had 8 glorious hours sleep.  I have the coconut powder and beetroot powder options too.

The coconut powder water is much more palatable than the beetroot one, but I am finding each day its getting easier to take.  I saw these powders in Holland and Barrett on special so thought I would try them out, although I am a big believer in getting nutrients from real food, I just wanted to take these to see if they made a difference.

It was a pleasure to pop down to the Cirencester Race for Life to grab the ever awe-inspiring Shona Darley to say hi and a quick selfie. Shona is featured in the August Women’s Running Magazine, please go check her article out.  Her story is amazing, and she goes on to inspire so many others too.   I was especially touched that my Dad’s name was recognised… he is a cancer fighter… thank you that meant the world to me.

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Funny who you bump into in Ciren Park…

Today was my first run since Swansea and I wanted to clock in 3 miles, to start me off again, which I did.  It was quite warm and muggy but I feel good for stretching my legs and getting back into running – leaving it any longer than a week of recovery starts off the cabin fever loonies. Going to treadmill it tomorrow while using the Run Social app – it’s so addictive! I’d highly recommend this app to anyone.  It’s so fun! We were joking in the running group that its easy to just jump on the app for fun even when you’re not even running!

Hope you’re all running well and enjoying the summer races…

Take care all, BB xx

 

 

NEW BLOG POST: Silver linings from Swansea

Swansea was a HM experience I won’t ever forget!  Not for the right reasons too I hasten to add… or should I say they were the right reasons as it’s made me reevaluate what I am doing in terms of training for this year which has taken a whole heap of stress of my shoulders.

The lead up to the half marathon was entirely stressful for personal reasons, my husband suddenly had his course dates changed (for an upcoming job) and they fell slap bang into the Swansea HM date.  This caused a lot of stress to sort out babysitting, none of my friends locally could help at such late notice etc etc etc…. it resulted in £75 worth of baby sitters over the weekend alone, not counting the additional travel costs.  On top of that I had an email from my Air BnB digs to say that she wouldn’t be at the property but to find the key under a chair in the back garden, and a side note to lock the door connecting to the kitchen as there were other guests staying in her house.  At this stage I knew I should’ve just cancelled going to Swansea, but I had a done a whole heap of training in the lead up and felt after finally sorting out all the other stress factors just to go and enjoy the damn thing.

The Saturday day time was full of Mia with terrible two tantrums and me running about the place trying to get last minute bits together, which I managed in time for the first of the two babysitters to turn up.

Train connections were fine FOR ONCE, and I arrived at Swansea for 7pm and believed the instructions that the house was 15 mins from the city centre, it wasn’t, it was 36 mins precisely up a 2 mile hill, in which I arrived in a sweaty mess, starving….

I dumped my stuff off and headed out promptly to meet Kimberley in the city centre for a bite to eat and catch up, we only had about an hour and I had to shoot off again to get my kit laid out and sorted for the next day.  I then had to ensure that my car parking at Kemble train station was covered as that was running out at midnight that night, and I had to ensure I wasn’t going to get ticketed the next day! Thankfully, got all that sorted.

A crap nights sleep ensued and the house cat ‘Milo’ woke me up at 6am to be let in for his brekkie.  That was fine, I was up anyway. However I am allergic to cats and had to take a Piriton tablet pronto, however the allergy stayed heavy on my chest.

Got to race village and bumped into the lovely Karen and Kimberley, while I was waiting for a wee.  Oh and just to add to the crappy weekend someone tried to get into my toilet while I was going for a wee believing I was locked in! Thankfully I was spared any embarrassment on that one. For godsake!  Unfortunately I had missed some other of my VRF friends at race village, another time for sure!

Off to the pens we went and I secured a place by the 2:20 pacer, seeing that I had ran Bath Half at 2:25, I wanted to see if I could push myself to 2:20, well that didn’t happen either, the pacer FLEW OFF.  In fact he was so fast that the 2 hour 15 mins one had to catch him up!  Don’t know what happened there at all – but he must’ve finished well ahead of his projected time.

The course in itself was VERY DULL for VERY long periods of time I found, not much crowd support and I think there was a serious lack of water stations (thankfully I had my hydration vest on) plus unclear mile markers aggravated me.   Didn’t realise that the lack of crowd support would affect me in this way… but it really did, by mile 7.5 I was totally bored of the race and considering actually just leaving it but glad I didn’t.  I did a run/walk combo back to the end, mostly running!  But once the momentum had gone at 7.5 it had really gone…by mile 12 I saw my friend Karen who saw me into the finish and I can’t thank her enough.  Lovely lady!

Would do I do this race again? No…. Why? i wouldn’t do any race again in which I am experiencing huge amounts of stress prior to just to get to the race, its not just worth it.. My focus was rubbish as all I kept thinking about was getting back for Mia and the pain of not having her at the finish line with my husband was a killer.

So, after this race it’s allowed me to reassess what I am doing.  I have a few 10k’s to focus on this year, and that’s ALL I am going to focus on this year.  I have to be realistic in terms of expectations for myself and being a working Mum on the amount of training I can do… I never want to start hating running, which is where I am falling into – to commit to 2 hours plus training on a LSR and leave my daughter at home isn’t fair on her or my husband who has the lion share in childcare, due to my job, his situation and my training.  This decision has made me much happier…

My time at Swansea was 2:27, only 2 minutes behind my PB.  A lot of people would want that time I know and it’s not the time that bothers me, just the actual performance, breath, pace etc.  My body could go longer for sure, it was just my stress head that wouldn’t allow me!  We learn something from everything we do, and I feel Swansea has taught me to slow down a bit and make my training more manageable.

Well done to the other Swansea runners, Jon, Kimberley, Steve and Karen.. you all did GREAT!

Till next time… BBx

 

 

 

 

 

NEW BLOG POST: 9 days till Swansea!

Wow, only 9 days left till Swansea Half Marathon.  It was only yesterday that I confirmed I could run it!  My husband is now on a training course, an essential course, for a new job that starts very shortly after and they cancelled this weekend’s course and placed it slap bang while we were away in Swansea.  Great!  Much cursing and panicking followed, but we now seem to have a plan in hand!

Finally I have got childcare nailed for the Saturday and Sunday, so I am able to leave late on the Saturday and get to Swansea in the evening and have a decent nights sleep before the race start at 09.00.

After the race I will have to hot-foot it back to Cirencester to pick my daughter up.  I’m so lucky that the babysitter is one of the nursery staff who Mia knows well and is comfortable with.  Its these race considerations that can make or break whether you can turn up for the race.  I now have to think of whittling down what I take with me to the bare minimum as its only one bag to stow away in baggage in race village.

I am hoping to meet some of my running friends from VRF’s at the event, hopefully post-race as I am a bag of nerves pre-race and can hardly speak.  Will be great to put some names to faces and faces to names!  Better running without music, I am just taking my Garmin and Strava app to keep check of progress.  I don’t care for a PB, just to enjoy the experience of it all really, I am so lucky to be able to get down there after this weeks shenanigans threw everything up in the air.

Very much looking forward to this route as its gorgeous, in training I have got up to good two ten milers recently, just hoping that the weather is kind to us as my training runs in the high humidity have left me with major headaches and quite sluggish! Something I never get usually.  Been more mindful to drink plain water and take electrolytes after my run too as I understand that this can help.

After a half hour treadmill sweat-fest today my next run is an LSR on Sunday morning, the last one before the big race and a few 5 milers next week, then I will get my kit ready and sorted. Eep….

Then all I have to worry about after that is doing a good job at the Bath Two Tunnels (my earlier 10k run this year was disappointing), and onto Cheddar Gorge for August.  Plus finishing off the 1000 mile challenge too!  September I have a trail event in Devon plus my 5th Half Marathon in Cheltenham which should be great fun!

However my 4th half marathon awaits… good luck everyone! BB x

NEW BLOG POST: If you can’t stand the heat…

Wow, it was hot yesterday.  As we were at Alton Towers on Monday and Tuesday of this week I missed my 3 mile ‘fast’ run that I normally do on Monday’s (although we did 8 miles of walking), however I wanted to get out yesterday as I started getting the crazies, plus I had a 6 mile run to do to stick with my training plan for Swansea.  Just a reminder, I am doing a fast 3, normal pace 6, and then LSR (at whatever pace I fall into) per week.

Due to work I could only manage a 4:30pm run, and oh boy that was HOT and MUGGY!  I tried to stick to the shaded areas where I could and slowed my pace right down.  My backpack was full of water thankfully!  Wore my skort and a vest top (black, probably not the best colour to wear), thought I would be OK.  Eep how wrong was I! By mile 5 I was DONE, only a mile short of what I wanted, but I couldn’t get any more out of my legs and all my water had gone too.

Felt a bit stupid running at that time really, however, reflecting on it Swansea HM could have the exact same conditions in terms of heat and humidity, and if you’re training for an upcoming race then it should be in all conditions.  So all in all, was pleased.  Plus, I did it in 53 mins, which is pretty much my normal time for that distance anyway.

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A few of my runner friends shared their tips on staying cool while running in the heat…

I decided this week too that I am picking up strength training too, after completing the 30 day shred in April and getting to a 3 minute plank in the May 30 day plank challenge I am ready to take on more.  I asked my running group to share what other sports they do to compliment running and have seen that swimming is quite popular.  We have a lido in Cirencester that I am hoping to get to to do a few proper laps in!  The swimming I do at the moment is a few doggy paddle strokes while playing with my daughter! So will be interesting to see how my lungs fare with proper swimming.

Hope you are all having a good week, how do you cope in the heat?

BBxx

ps – I vlogged my Alton Towers trip and stay at Splash Landings, if you wanted to take a look?