And…I’m out!

I’m doing the marathon. I’m not doing the marathon. I’m doing the marathon.  I’m not doing the marathon.  This has been one of the most flip flop decisions of my life and now it’s been taken out of my hands, I’m heartbroken.

I had a cold when I was in Italy 2 weeks ago.  I felt like I was over it when I came back so I did a 19 mile run.  Apparently this just annoyed my cold which came raging back and turned into a fully fledged sinus infection, bringing all its friends – headache, toothache, coughs, rattly chest.

I’ve been living on cold and flu remedies and getting no sleep. I haven’t run for a week and a half so the decision is in.

I’m not running the marathon.

I think a little part of me believed I would all the way through this year’s training programme.  Now I’m definitely not, I’m ticked off.  I’m embarrassed to tell people too, it feels a bit pathetic.

I won’t be blogging next week when I’m away.  When I’m back I need to refocus.  A short term goal to get me to the end of 2014 will have to do 😦

Happy running to you all this week and best of luck to everyone who runs the Yorkshire Marathon on Sunday.  I’ll be with you in spirit (even if I’m still in bed)

Positivity, Running, Training

A tough decision…or not

11 days to go until the marathon!

This weekend was pretty busy for me – I had a full day of work on Saturday then walked 10 miles with my dad on Sunday.  That meant no time for the official ‘make or break’ long run, which got shifted to Monday instead.

I intended to do 21 miles on Monday and managed 19, so I’ve still not broken the magic 20 but I am getting closer to the distance.  I also averaged a pace that would get me in under 5 hours, the magic number for me.

The first 10 miles were pretty good.  After they were finished, I looped home and restocked on water and took a gel.  The next 5 miles were HARD.  Back home again, water, gel.  The last 4 miles were rubbish and I was run-walking and thinking ‘what on earth am I doing?’

At that point, I made a decision in my head.  I would drop out of the marathon, and that would mean the holiday we plan to take on October 13th could move forward a couple of days and we could have a much nicer break.  Decision made, I felt lighter.  When I got home, I found that the husband couldn’t go on holiday until the 13th anyway, so the marathon is back on the table.

I can decide right up until that morning whether I’m going to do it or not.  I know I probably can do it (slowly) but I’m not sure if I want to do it, and that’s been the whole issue this year with hindsight.  Will I do it? Probably 🙂  Then standby for the world’s whiniest race review.

Running, Training

The Yorkshire Marathon…it’s getting close!

Not next Sunday, or the Sunday after, but the Sunday after that I’ll be stood…waiting…nervous…on the start line of the Yorkshire Marathon.

It looks like the husband won’t be able to join me this year due to an injured calf.  The therapist did suggest he could rest and then make the marathon his first run for 3 weeks, but that’s not comfortable position for a first-time (or any time) marathoner to be in.

Last week I was in Italy having a lovely time, eating cheese and sausage and drinking prosecco while not even thinking about running.  When I got back on Sunday I did 15.5 miles, that’s 8 laps of the service road on York racecourse!

If I’d trained better this year I’d be thinking about tapering now but I’ve still not broken the magic 20 mile mark that will be so important for the my confidence on the day.  It doesn’t help that this year has coincided with a very busy time for me at work so even this weekend I have no time for a long run.

The plan is:

  • Long run Monday (break 20 miles!)
  • Then start to taper.

I’ll keep doing between 9 and13 mile runs between now and the big day after that, pray for cool weather on the day and wish myself luck.  Honestly, I’ll be glad when it’s over 🙂

Happy running this week!

Marathon tips, Running, Training

Getting there – 16 miles done!

The one thing I need to give me marathon confidence is distance.  The one thing I’ve really failed at this year? Yep you guessed it.

This weekend I knew time was running out and I had to get some big miles done.  Slightly hampered by two things – one, a wedding the day before, and two, a big chunk of my normal running route shut because of a SkyRide.  Thanks Sky!

Rather than try and work out a new long crazy route I went for a boring mental challenge instead.  I ran to the race course (2ish miles) then did 6 laps of the service road (also 2ish miles per lap) before running home.  It was pretty dull but at least I knew where I was going and I saw lots of nice dogs.   I chose an audio book rather than music and it worked quite nicely.

When I got home, I had 16.25 miles in the bag.  Hooray! I took one bottle of water and one caffeine gel and there were some walk breaks, but I’m expecting to have some walk breaks on the marathon so I’m not too stressed about that.  As long as they’re managed and structured rather than an elaborate collapse I’m happy.

I find thirst and carrying enough water a massive problem on long runs – to the point where I’m looking at other people with drinks and wondering if they’d mind if I asked them for just a little sip? The husband suggested next week I drive to the race course and load up the car with water and snacks so I can keep replenishing when I run out.  Sounds like a plan to me!

Marathon training…plus picnic breaks 🙂

I’m off to Italy for a few days now so no training AGAIN, but next weekend I plan to do 20+ miles.  That’s a lot of racecourse laps!

Happy running this week.

Attitude, Race Review, Reviews

Race Review: Great North Run 07.09.14

I ran my first Great North Run in 2006.  It was my first half marathon and took me 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Since then, I’ve run every single one expect for 2012 which was the husband’s 40th birthday.  I’ve got my half marathon time down to 2 hours 15 although recently it’s stuck at around the 2 hours 20/25 mark.

I absolutely love the Great North Run.  It’s amazingly well organised, the atmosphere and the spectators are fantastic and I get a lump in my throat every time the Red Arrows go over.  I run with a good friend and we travel to Newcastle on the train together then she waits for me at the end and we go home.

This year we said would be our last GNR.  It’s getting expensive and to someone who trains in flat York the whole course feels like it’s uphill.  But I might have changed my mind on the finish line…we’ll see!

This year was astonishingly hot for September in the grim North East of England.  I knew as soon as I set off I would struggle with the heat so put any thoughts of a PB out the window and focused on enjoying the run. There are bands every mile, people in costumes and of course Bus Stop Elvis as mile 11 – love him!

Maybe I just wasn’t in a competitive mood but I felt like I’d had a nice day out.  I finished in 2 hours 28 and I’ll take that – anything over 2 hours 30 and I’ve have been gutted.

I wasn’t the millionth finisher (it looks like she was about an hour after me) but congratulations to her – and to GNR for being such an amazing event.

Happy running this week! 🙂

Training, Yoga

The aptly named awkward posture

If I was starting this blog again, I’d have to call it Clairewhinges rather than Claireruns because honestly, that’s all I feel like I’ve done with my training this year.  Too hot, too ouchy, too far….whinge whinge whinge.

So, instead of whinging about how I got a blister on my long run on Sunday and it was all rubbish woe is me I’m going to share a few random yoga exercises that are very helpful for runner’s knees and feet.  With no whinging at all.

1) Yoga squat

This one is great for your knees, quads and feet and ankles. It’s tough, but you can feel it working and stretching things out.

Stand with feet pointing out like Charlie Chaplin, heels connected.  Breathe in and lift your arms over your head so your palms touch, with elbows slightly bent.

Come up on your toes.  Breathing out, slowly drop down into a squat, without letting your bottom poke out to the back.  Your knees will point out to the side.  Hold for a few seconds, breathe in as you come back up and drop your arms.

Feel it in your quads? Me too!  Repeat as much as you like.

2) Awkward posture

This one’s good for feet and ankles. 

Stand straight with your feet slightly apart.  Breathe in and lift your arms straight out in front of you (like a zombie).  Come up on your toes (wobbling like a weeble at first) and then as you breathe out, drop your bottom to your heels.  Again, don’t let your bottom stick out behind you.

Hold for a few seconds, breathe in and come back up.  Repeat as desired.

Both of these are good for strengthening feet, knees and also a bit of core.  Hope you enjoy them!

Great North Run on Sunday, race report to follow.  Wish me luck 🙂

Diet, Reviews

Product Review: High5 Race Pack

This year I’m training for my second marathon and the husband is training for his first one.  I got into the habit of taking gels with me on longer runs last year, but when I went to the cupboard this year it was pretty much bare.  Apart from one gel that expired in March this year, but I had it anyway.  I’m not dead yet.

Last year I used SiS Go Gels which were pretty good. They weren’t the gels given out on the York Marathon route so I set off with 5 of them tucked in my belt like the world’s worst cowboy. 

The husband also needs to start thinking about nutrition as he’s starting to flag on the longer runs, he doesn’t even take water normally let alone any food or gels.

I went to the site we normally use and found the High5 Race Pack.  What a great idea.  It’s cheap and has a stack of different gels, tablets and shakes to try.  There are different flavours, some have caffeine some don’t…perfect if you’re new to fuel on the go and need to try things out.

 High 5

I’ve tried the tablets to add to water and they’re great.  They’re zero calorie so I’m not entirely sure what they’re made of but they add a bit of salt and flavour which seems to help convince my body it’s not about to keel over.

I’ve tried one of the caffeinated gels but I’m not so sure about that, it gave me a massive headache while running.  Maybe I’ll try one more and see before I decide I definitely don’t like them.

My fuel strategy for this year will be similar to last year I think, some gels and some flapjack for on the route as well.  I might add some of the water tablets and some caffeine but I’ll see how they perform in training.  I definitely don’t want anything new to upset my stomach on the day!

Training this week – not bad.  I’m up to half marathon distance now and have a 17 miler planned in for this weekend. Happy running!

Attitude, Positivity, Uncategorized, Weather

Some success…at last!

After my visit to the sports therapist I felt a bit more confident knowing I’m not completely and permanently broken.  I’ve got some weird ankle moves to do every day to build up strength and reduce clicking, but I’m free to run.

So, last week I did a steady 3 miles…and it felt good.  And then on Saturday, I managed 9.5 miles! It was a good, steady run with no stopping except to cross roads and it felt so nice.  So nice to run, not to be in too much pain, not to feel like I was melting.  There’s been a change in the weather and I can safely say now that sunshine is my kryptonite.

I’m now about 6 miles behind where I’m supposed to be in my training plan, but I’m not too stressed about that.  I know I can do these distances, and I’m starting to feel more confident that my body remembers how as well.  I’m resisting the temptation to head straight back out and run, instead I’ve got 2 weights sessions and 1 yoga session this week before my next long run on Monday where I’ll try to add another 4-5 miles.

My (revised) training plan is now 1 short run or sprint session and 1 long run per week until the marathon.  Everything else will be weights, spin classes and yoga.

Happy running this week and hope you’ve had some good times too 🙂

Injury, Massage

Sports Therapist Visit

Towards the end of my marathon training last year I was getting a dull pain in my right Achilles and heel at the end of each run.  As I rested over winter it calmed down, but now I’ve picked my training up it’s back again.

Last week I did very little running (but did some spin classes, weights and yoga so I wasn’t totally lazy) and on Friday I went to see  a sports therapist.

She was absolutely fab.  I’m not in danger of having my legs fall off, but I do have tight calves and short thigh muscles, mainly due to sitting down all day at work.  I had a great massage which wasn’t as ouchy as other sports massages I’ve had, and left my calves feeling loose as jelly.

The therapist also gave me some exercises to do to strengthen my ankles which I’ll do my best to stick to.  We had that usual awkward moment which most runners have experienced….

Therapist: “are you stretching?”

Runner: “erm….maybe??”

I’ve also got a heel bump called Haglund’s Deformity (sexy!) but as long as it doesn’t hurt too much I just need to make sure my shoes don’t rub.

So, this week I’ve been remotivated and done 2 runs, Saturday I’m going to aim for a longer run.  My Great North Run race pack arrived this week so if I needed any further motivation, there it is!

Enjoy your running this week 🙂


Race Review – York 10k Sunday 3rd August

If you’ve been following my grumbling on the blog, you’ll know I’ve not really been feeling  the love for running this year.  Long runs have been long slow crumbles into walk/runs and I’ve struggled to stick to my training plan.

So, I approached this year’s York 10k with a pretty bad attitude, but resolved to do my best and see how it went.

One annoyance with the York 10k is that they always have to delay the start for traffic problems.  York isn’t the best place for traffic, but why not provide more information to people about setting off early?  I’m no professional athlete but when I’ve timed my breakfast and wee break for a 9.30am start, it’s irritating to stand around until 10am.

The weather was cooler for the race with good cloud cover, so better conditions for me.  I was running without my trusty Garmin because it was out of juice so I just set off at a comfortable pace and decided to see how it went.

And it went…well!  I ran the whole thing, no stops, not even for water.  I love running through York and going past the Minster is always a buzz.  The strangest part of the route is running over Millennium Bridge which wobbles when there are so many feet pounding across it.  The first year it happened I thought I was going to pass out until I realised it wasn’t me wobbling, it was the world 🙂

And my time? 1.00.32.  Curses!  If I’d have had my Garmin and realised I could have made that extra 32 seconds up and cracked an hour, but it was quite nice just to run with no focus on time. 

So overall a success. I’ve got a physio appointment on Friday to check out the new and interesting lump on my heel, the weathers cooling down and I might actually start to make some training progress.

Happy running this week!