Everything, except celery

I eat everything, except celery.

Category: Running

Stay with me

I rather miss you when you’re not there

We’ve been through this before; it’s hard to bare

Hold on please, a little longer

Stay together; it makes us stronger

I know the hurt I’ve put you through;

Perhaps not taken good care of you

To go without you causes pain

I need this from you; just once again

Just one more race, please don’t fail

My toe would miss you little nail.

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Neglected

I’m afraid I cannot explain myself, Sir. Because I am not myself, you see?
Lewis Carroll

I’ve neglected this space. It’s a space I made to give myself a voice and to help me understand what I needed, but I neglected it. I’ve neglected myself. I think in having lost a bit of my voice I’d begun to lose the need to use it. If you don’t speak, then noone will listen, so why am I surprised that I’m not heard.

I go through periods of amazing self awareness and understanding my feelings, but I can just the same wake up one day and wonder who I am. Sometimes I am not myself, but another version of myself. It is a surreal feeling, sometimes poetic, sometimes terrifying. 

For a while I thought I’d keep a note of all the things I wanted to say, and then write a post for each, accurately chronicling the past to enable me to move forward. Fat chance. I kept the notes, but the times have gone, I’m not the same person who had those experiences so how could I recapture the person I was when I first experienced them.

I may yet recount some of the marathon running and crazy distance walking, but in the mean-time I’m back in real time.

And I might even have the guts to type up some poems.

A little challenge and the art of wallowing

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Day 17: Do you have an eating disorder?

I suppose this challenge is as much about reflection and self awareness as it is about weight-loss. When we understand our habits we are better able to change them. If we understand our self-sabotages and destructive behaviour we are better armed to make the tough decision to change our pattern of behaviour. I wouldn’t say that I have an eating disorder. I do, however, have other problems (I would never say that they are ‘disorders’) that can manifest in the way I eat.

I’ve struggled, fought, overcome, won and lost in the battle with depression and anxiety for over half my life. Sometimes this means I over-eat, sometimes it means I can’t eat. By looking at my eating habits I can recognise where my mind is and it can keep me in check to redress any impending inbalences and negative thought processes.

You’ve probably all heard the jibe about the bulimic who doesn’t throw up… I was that child. I don’t know where I got the idea but I somehow got it into my head that, after eating all the biscuits in the house, if I was sick it would make me feel better. I drank salt-water; it didn’t work. I put my fingers down my throat; it didn’t work. I tried using a toothbrush to make me gag; you guessed it, it didn’t work. So instead, I’d just over-eat and leave it at that. To some extent I still do over-eat. But now I am better armed to understand why I want to and I am able to control it.

If someone has a broken bone you wouldn’t tell them to ‘get over it’ and that the pain isn’t real. You’d give them painkillers and time to heal. In the same way, there are times where I allow myself a wallow and a tub of icecream. It’s a weird trick I play on my mind, but by giving myself permission to eat a whole tub of ice-cream I am less likely to then eat everything else in reach. By allowing the indulgence I am breaking the perpetual cycle of: binge, feel bad about bingeing, binge to feel better about feeling bad about having binged.

We are human, we feel bad sometimes, we are allowed to recognise this bad feeling and do something about it. Sometimes that thing is ice-cream, but in more recently it is a run and a slice of recovery cake.

Hit the Road Kat

So, when I started out running it was on the tracks and trails surrounding my home. The little bit of ‘road’ running I did was just to get to the trail. I never thought I’d be one to pound the pavements mile after mile. Then I broke my foot. Getting back to running, the consultant advised me to stick to flat, even surfaces. That does not fit well with trail running. So I hit the road. It’s a very different feeling. Running on the trails you are forever dipping and darting, checking your footing, gearing towards the next obstacle. It’s a great distraction activity, you can’t be thinking of much else than your running lest you miss your footing and fall flat on your face (I speak from experience of this!) Road running seems the opposite to me. At first I thought it was repetitive and draining; then I discovered it was meditative and enlightening. Before you know it you have been going for miles as you mull over life, the universe and everything.

As my marathon will be on road I thought I’d best start doing some road races. When a friend suggested the Langdale 10k I jumped at the chance – any excuse to go back to the valley. I love the place. Some find it odd that I know this, but it is literally where I was ‘created’ (on Christmas Eve, with the help of a bottle of Trinidadian rum in a staff caravan at the back of the Old Dungeon Ghyll). It will always be a kind of spiritual home for me. My Mum’s ashes are spread at the damn at the bottom of The Band. It’s where I take myself for a bit of reflection.

I’ve raced in Langdale before, a 5k trail last June. Yes, the June that there were nationwide floods. What happens to a valley when it rains a lot? It fills with water. Crossing the valley I ran through water that was knicker deep in places (it’s called a basin for a reason!). Husband joked that it would be like that for my road race this time round. I laughed it off, ‘it’s a road race, it’ll be different,’ all the while I was thinking and remembering how even the road floods in the valley when there’s been a considerable downpour.

Sunday morning came around and it had rained solidly all night. Maybe it’ll let up, I thought. Ach, well I’ve run in worse, I remembered. Onwards! Friend arrived, I packed up the car with the camping gear and we set off for the valley. Some of the fields were flooded, but not as bad as I’d seen before so I was hopeful that the campsite wouldn’t be a washout. Arriving in the valley there were only a few people around, not unusual, but a very different experience to when I’d been there to support friend doing the Half Marathon. That day we’d been lucky to get a parking space and couldn’t move for runners limbering up and supporters milling around. There were so few people this time, I wondered if the race was cancelled. We donned our waterproofs and plodded down to the race HQ to check the situation.

There were some people milling around, a mix of runners wearing traksters and windbreakers, and marshals in hefty highviz jackets sheltering from the wind (oh the wind! More on that later). Being that we few had appeared, I assumed the race was still going ahead and I asked one of the highviz people where we were starting from. A man piped up from behind me (I think he was the famous ‘Rocket Rod’ race organiser) and said that the start is ‘Down there, towards the farm. Someone’s stolen the start sign’. Or, ‘more likely, it’s blown away’ someone added later.

We tootled along towards the start point, what seemed like a random point on the little road. I left friend towards the front of the 70 or so gathered, and I took my place at the back of the pack so as not to obstruct what looked like some very serious club runners. I saw some familiar t-shirts from the trail races I’ve done and I felt hopeful, and in good company. A couple of people tried to position themselves behind me and I thought, ‘you’ll only have to pass me soon enough!’. The siren went off and away we went. Quickly. Too quickly for me. I looked at my Garmin, saw an 8, had a sharp intake of breath and slowed right down to a more comfortable (and sustainable) pace. My aim was to come in at 1:10, having managed a couple of 1:08 runs at home on comparatively flatter ground. The pack had spread right out, there were only a couple of people behind me and the lady in pink a few metres ahead of me was a good pacer to keep me going.

The course was out and back along the valley road. I’d done a recce and knew I had three hills to look forward to on the way out and one hill on the way back where I expected to have to walk. I must’ve missed the first hill on the way out as I didn’t realise how much of a beast it was until I was coming down it again on the way back.

On the way out I lost the pink lady before going into Chapel Stile, thinking that she’d gone way ahead I was a bit disheartened, but I knew there was at least one person behind me. I know it’s childish but I just didn’t want to be last. Then I heard someone behind me… It was the pink lady. ‘How did you get behind me?’ I panted with shock. She’d had to nip to the loo.

Then there were a series of shocks to the system. Having looked at the route and done a recce in the car, I was expecting to have to carry on to Elterwater, go around the common and come back again, but a Marshal was signalling me to turn right into the timeshare. Not what I expected. I tend to pick up the pace when tackling a new obstacle and this is what I did, pink lady was just a little way behind me. As I wound my way up into the complex (having a funny reminisce about saving a frog that was trying to get into the swimming pool last time I was there) suddenly there was a ‘ping’ and pink lady shouted from behind ‘You’ve dropped something!’ At the same time I felt my necklace slide down my front and I went to catch it. ‘Oh no! My wedding rings!’ I exclaimed as I saw one of them fly in front of me. I picked it up and went to turn to search for my engagement ring just as pink lady picked it up and handed it to me. ‘Thank you so much!’ I gasped, she tried to stop to see that I was okay, and I urged her to carry on, I was fine and we were running again. It all happened so quickly.

Within seconds, and with pink lady just ahead again and we came to the water station. I’d seen a sign that said to leave cups at the station, and looking ahead I couldn’t see a bucket to put them in so I stopped. I drank the water quickly, intending to get going again straight away. Then I saw the huge box of assorted jelly sweets toffees and chocolates. I actually stopped long enough to pick out a selection of purely green jelly fruits and jelly babies (I’m not picky at all!). I popped one in my mouth, clutching a handful as I went on up the hill ready to turn back on myself and back to the valley. Downhill again and processing what had just happened with almost losing my rings I kept up a good pace for me heading back into Chapel Stile, then I saw that pink lady had slowed to a walk. ‘Come on,’ I urged. ‘We’ve only one hill to go!’

Just before this big hill, I don’t know what happened. I stopped. A dead stop. Not on a hill, but a downhill section before the hill. Something must’ve been going on in my head. My legs wanted to carry on but for some reason I wasn’t letting them. It was such an odd feeling. I looked at my watch and I was acres ahead of what I’d expected. It bucked me up and I was able to carry on. Now, this was the hill where I expected to walk, but I rounded the corner and thought, ‘Roar! Lets go for it’. I saw the daunting task ahead. Then a gust of wind pushed me from behind and propelled me onwards and upwards. I almost made it to the top, my breathing felt laboured and I rounded the corner losing the windpower I’d had. I walked. But as soon as I saw the crest I set off again, winding back towards the valley letting the descent take me onwards and thinking to myself, how on earth did I manage to get up this on the way out!

I was nearly there. I saw the marquee and then The Band at the head of the valley that leads up to Bowfell and I thought of my mum and how proud she’d be. There was just one little bit of hill so I thought I’d walk it and then go all out for the last descent. As the crest approached I ran again over the top, saw the finishline, and then the wind hit me. Rushing down the valley towards me it was with such force I felt I couldn’t take in any air. The wind had indeed winded me! I put my head down and tried to take small breaths to alleviate the breathlessness. There were a few people at the end and I charged towards them with all I had.

Wow! What a feeling! I came in at 1:05:33 by my watch. A whole 3mins faster than my 10k route at home, where I haven’t walked, stopped, lost my wedding rings or been picky about which colour sweets I’ll choose. At this rate I think I might even manage a sub 60 for the Manchester 10k next month. Watch this space…

A little challenge and a long catch-up

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Ooops, I’ve left this for a fair few days, please forgive the extra-long post!

Day 5: Why do you really want to lose this weight? Are you doing it for you?

The first time I (sensibly) thought about losing weight and joined a group to support me I was losing the weight because I thought I could do with dropping a few lbs. Little did I know I was nearly 15st and I was firmly in the obese category for my height. It was a bit of a health shock and I thought I definitely needed to drop the weight to be healthier all round. Purely through diet and cutting out the junk I dropped a couple of stones over the Summer between my first and second years of university. I felt great, and when term came round, I moved, left my slimming group and continued to eat healthily but the treats and excesses began to creep back so over the course of two years about a stone crept back on. I was happy at that weight but alway knew I could be just that bit lighter. Losing weight has never been about other people, it’s just been about how happy I feel in myself. I’m doing it to feel comfortable and over the years I have felt more comfortable the healthier I have been.

Day 6: Do you binge? If so, explain why you do.

In short, yes. I hate leaving things unfinished. This includes packets of biscuits, batches of muffins and even bowls of salad. ‘Waste not, want not’ is a phrase etched in my genetic code. When I plan, and have my food thought out, I can circumvent the urge to eat all the things just because they’re there. The messier my head is, the harder it is to leave food uneaten, just in case it would go to waste. I do comfort eat but if I plan this properly I can comfort eat healthy things in moderate portions. If I don’t plan and the need to comfort myself with food sneaks up on me then I’ll eat and eat. I’ve not been unknown to make myself sick from just eating too much. I don’t have an off switch!

Day 7: Do your parents know you’re trying to lose weight? Do they care?

What an odd question. Okay, maybe not odd for most, but I don’t have parents in the conventional sense. My mum died nearly nine years ago and I don’t have any contact with my father. My inlaws know, I’ve not asked if they care, but they’ve been lovely in making little ajustments when I go around for dinner. Little things like making a salad to have with my starter so I won’t gorge on bread and pate.

Day 8: Your workout routine

This varies week to week, depending on the weather and for what I’m training. In years gone by, my workout routine was nil – walks when I could fit them in and then not a lot else save the odd yoga class here and there. In recent history I discovered running. It’s not hyperbole when I say it transformed my life. Now I run about three times a week and I’m training for a Marathon. To support my running I am doing more core exercise work for strength and keeping up yoga more regularly to help my flexibility and stability. I’ve also been walking more, rediscovering the fells from my childhood and adventuring to bag more and more peaks (quite handy that I live on the doorstop of the Lake District!). I’m also training for the Keswick to Barrow walk this May.

Day 9: Did people ever make comments about your weight in a negative way?

Yes. I was the fat kid at school. I would walk through town and be followed by a girl saying ‘beep beep, wide load’. My surname was Ford and my nickname was ‘Fat Ford Fiesta’ or ‘chocolate muffin’ (still not sure how that one came about). School was not a fun time.

Day 10: What was the hardest thing you gave up during this ‘weight loss’?

My teal velvet trousers. Haha, I should explain. I haven’t given up any type of food, it’s all about control and moderation. If I have a treat one day then I can’t have it the next. The only thing I’ve given up is the inches, which has meant that some of my favourite clothes no longer fit. It was hard to give up my teal trousers, but when they nearly fell down while I was running a workshop with young people I thought it was best I move on (or never be employed again!).

Day 11: Your favourite thinspo blog and why!

Hmm, not really sure about this. I read blogs by others about their weight-loss journey but each journey is so individual to that person. It’s the training blogs I find more inspirational. The Guardian Running Blog has been great for keeping me motivated and the comments are wonderful for following the journeys of others, whether they are in it for weight loss or not.

Day 12: What do you normally eat?

Everything, except celery! As the title of my blog indicates, I eat everything with the exception of celery, which I can’t stand. I eat a very varied diet, nothing is off limits, I just try to moderate it, which, when I stick to plan really works. While I really like cheese, it plays havoc with my digestive system and makes me very stinky so I have to time when I have it! I love fruit and veg which is helpful, and I’ve always been a bit wary of processed foods which is also a good mindset when trying to lose the pounds. Cooking from scratch means I know what is going into my body and in what quantities. I’m also a big advocate of keeping a food diary, only when you are aware of what you’re eating you can control and tailor it to your goals. Here’s a run down of a typical day in my diet:
Breakfast – porridge (cooked without milk) with cinnamon, poured over chopped apple.
Lunch- baked potato with beans and cheese.
Dinner- home-made bolognase (made with plenty of veg and lean mince) with wholewheat pasta.
Snacks- yoghurt, fresh pineapple, pop-corn (popped without fat).

Day 13: Are you losing weight in a healthy or unhealthy way?

As if anyone sets out to lose in an ‘unhealthy way’. We all think ‘our way’ is the healthy way. I’m no exception. I’m taking it slow and steady, not banning foods, keeping my diet varied, eating plenty of whole foods, fruit and veg, and taking regular exercise. I’d say that’s a pretty healthy way of doing it!

Day 14: What’s your UGW? When do you expect to achieve it?

Well, as my aim is to be a ‘healthy weight’ for my BMI, the most I should weigh is 11st4lb. I’ve set my target as 11st (because I like a round number). Although, I’ll have to see when I get there whether that is the right weight for me. At 12st now, I’m already a size 12 (which I haven’t been since I was age 12!) so I’m not sure how losing another stone is going to affect me and whether or not when I get there I might find that 10st7lb might be a good weight for me (right in the middle of the healthy BMI range for my height). As for when I expect to achieve it… I’d hoped to be there by the end of this month but that’s not going to happen! I think the end of May is a more reasonable target but we’ll see how it goes. As I’ve said before, I’m taking it slow and steady.

Day 15: Are you vegan or vegetarian? If so, has this helped you to lose weight? If not, would you ever consider turning vegan or vegetarian?

Nope. I’m a meat eater. Nope I wouldn’t ‘turn’ vegan or vegetarian. (This makes it sound like some sort of religious conversion!). I like meat, and I like to know where my meat comes from. I’m lucky where I live. I can walk down the lane and see happy pigs forraging in the fields. I can then go to the market and buy lovely sausages and cuts of pork from a local butcher. If I didn’t buy from these local traders then I wouldn’t get to see the happy pigs. On a local scale I support the farming and eating of meat. On a global scale I understand that the conversion of energy from feed into meat creates a defecit of energy and a shortage of food; but perhaps we all need to start thinking locally and responsibly and this energy defecit would deplete naturally over time. I’m not going to solve Third World hunger by forgoing a bacon sandwich but I can have an impact on my local economy, landscape and legacy by choosing responsibly when I shop. Maybe I’m kidding myself, but hey, it might just be a case of picking the battles you can win and doing what little I can.

Day 16: When did you first decide to lose weight?

As I’ve said (above) it was when I was between first and second year of university that I began my weight-loss journey. Before then I wanted to lose weight but never really knew how to go about it healthily so I just didn’t. I’d cut back the excesses occasionally when my clothes were a bit tight but there was no plan, no goal, and so, no outcome. Now I have the plan, the goal, and very importantly, the support, and I’m seeing the results.

13 in 13 – April begins…

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The overall goal for April is to increase my walking distance in preparation for next month’s massive undertaking of the Keswick to Barrow walk – a 40 mile walk from North Lakes to South Lakes.

Anywho – how am I going to get there? Lets set some goals…

1. Go for four walks over 8 miles
To keep the walking miles in my legs, I’m going to go for 4 (or more?!) walks that are over 8 miles. Last month I walked back to Ulverston from a friend’s house in Barrow; it was a nice 10miler and I did it in less than three hours so this goal is definitely achievable, and it’s something I need to do if I’m going to finish the K2B!

2. Walk to Coniston
Why so specific? Well, living in Ulverston I’m on the doorstep of the Cumbria Way. Ulverston to Coniston is the first day of the route and something I’ve always wanted to do. Also, there’s a bus service between Coniston and Ulverston so I can walk there (have a pint) and get the bus back. It’s around 18 miles too, which will be good training for next month’s epic undertaking.

3. Run three times a week
This never used to phase me, three times a week was easy to fit in to my 9-5 Monday-Friday working week. I’m getting used to a new work schedule and with the walks I want to do I’m going to have to be a bit stricter with making a running date with myself and sticking to it. I’ve a couple of races this week and with my marathon as the big goal overall, I need to honour my runs with greater weight while also increasing my walking distances. It’s all about the plan – and sticking to it.

4. Spring clean!
April is a busy month and if I’m to stick to my plans I need to clear down, clean up, and make my environment as hassle free as possible. I’m a compulsive cleaner but if my mind is untidy my environment stacks up (literally, with piles of ‘stuff’) which perpetuates the cycle and leaves me very depressed and anxious. It’s a fitting time of year for a Spring clean so I’m setting aside some time from training to have a bit of zen cleaning and sorting.

5. Keep up core work
I’m not going to be as strict with myself on this one. The aim is just to keep it up, a little bit here and there, no time targets; just do it when I can to keep it on the back burner. It could be yoga, it could be Kinect, it could be a circuit session. We’ll see how I get on at the end of the month.

So, there we have it. The plan for this month. A plan which is, essentially, about planning.
Many thanks to Weight Wars for the drive to plan – and stick to it!

13 in 13 – March ends…

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Looking back, I’ve said it at the beginning of most of my 13 in 13 posts, the month has flown by. March has been no exception to this. It did seem to stick around a bit longer, but it is longer than February so that makes sense! There’s the old wive’s tale that, ‘if March comes in like a lion it goes out like a lamb’ and vice versa. I love this personification of the weather, and, true to this, the beginning of March was certainly like a lamb. All bouncy and Spring-like. Then it all went down hill from there – snow, bitter wind and a dramatic drop in temperature. Around my area we have a similar saying, ‘if you’re swimming in the lake at Easter then you won’t be over Summer’. There was no chance that your everyday bod (ie, someone without a wetsuit) would be outdoor swimming this Easter! This fills me with hope that we’ll get a bit of Summer this year and have many days on the lake to look forward to.

Anyhow, back on topic, the overall goal for March was to get back to comfortably running 10k. I’m signed up for a couple in April so let’s see how I did…

1. Run 10k by the end of March
Nailed it! Twice! While my weekly mileage hasn’t increased (new job, still getting my head around when to fit in my runs) I’ve made it out the door and hammered a couple of 6 mile runs. On the first of these missions I battled through the wind and rain and thought, ‘f**k it, I’m already out, I’m already freezing, you’re not going to beat me’. The second saw me nearly turn around before I even got to the end of my warm-up walk as the horizontal blizzard tried to etch its way through my windbreaker and into my skin, piercing me with icy flakes of uncomfortable and spiteful trials to my resolve. I persevered and bravely took a new route so I had further to get home even if I did turn around. But I didn’t! I’m really chuffed with this, and coming in at 1:08 I’m on track for the 1:10 I’ve set for myself in my first road 10k on April 14. Although, I do need to keep up my mileage and work out a training plan to fit in 3/4 runs a week, a goal for next month I think.

2. Increase core workouts
Again, I’m going to blame a new job and work timetable. I did manage 8 days of the 30 Day Shred, so over the course of the month I did achieve an average of 2 core sessions a month, I just happened to do them in a row… Yeah, again, something I need to continue to work on.

3. Yoga workout 3 times a week.
Meh. I suppose if I’d done 3 runs a week then this one would’ve been achieved. But I didn’t, so I didn’t. I did get some of the routines in after the runs I did do, but nothing focussed, more of a tag-on to my usual stretching. Must try harder – or rather, plan my time better (I see a theme developing!)

4. Read more
I’d not even noticed, until my reflection now, that this has been achieved with very little conscious effort. I’m back in the habit of reading! It’s come back so naturally, I’ve finished a couple of books and I look forward to settling down and reading. Goal achieved!

5. Eat new things
We’ve not really pushed the boat out with this one, rather than ‘new’ things we’ve just started to rediscover dishes we haven’t had in a long while so we’ve been a lot more varied which is good. Something to build upon.

So, that was March, and, as ever, many thanks to Weight Wars for spurring me on to keep this up (I promise to be less tardy with my post next month!).

13 in 13 – March begins…

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Well, February didn’t stick around for long did it! And March seems to be on a mission to ‘spring’ past as well (b’dum cha)! Anyway, enough with my awful puns, lets get to business and outline some goals before I miss the month all together.

The overall goal for March is to get back to comfortably running 10k. I’m signed up for a couple (one road and one trail) in April so I need to nail this one. My mini goals for the month are…

1. Run 10k by the end of March
Sounds easy enough but… I have never actually run more than 6 miles before. I’ve done a couple of 10k trail races but at some point (or, more specifically, some hill) I walked. I’ve been increasing my distances, and increasing my stamina so, continuing on the same path, I want to be able to run for a full 10k by the end of the month. Longest run to date is 4.6 miles so watch this space!

2. Increase core workouts
Yeah, I know I said I’d do this last month, and I really did want to, but when it came down to it I couldn’t be bothered. Thing is, I want to be bothered. I really miss the bootcamp sessions I used to go to. There’s nothing like a 7:30am Saturday morning gruelling workout and the following pain to make you really feel the progress. The class isn’t running anymore and no-one else wants to do it with me so I’m left to my own devices with this one. Must try harder!

3. Yoga workout 3 times a week.
I’ve been doing a yoga workout with routines for runners after my long run each week, I want to increase this to after every run. While I do stretch methodically after each run, there’s something really satisfying about taking to the mat and working through it all. Call me a junkie but it really does prolong the ‘runners’ high’.

4. Read more
I love reading, but I rarely make the time to sit down with a good book. I have two on the go at the moment and I aim to finish both of them by the end of the month. I will read each evening before bed, which, in turn will help me with last month’s sleep goal which I have yet to improve upon.

5. Eat new things
My diet is great at the moment and the weight is coming off nicely but it can be easy to fall into a rut. I’ve been baking something new each weekend but I want to try adding a few new savoury dishes to my repetoire. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Well that’s the plan, stay tuned for how it goes, and, as ever, many thanks to Weight Wars for spurring me on to keep this up (I promise to be less tardy with my post next month!).

13 in 13 – February ends…

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Better late than never…
Well, the overall goal for February was to improve fitness following injury. It’s flown by, barely seems like there was enough time to fit it all in! Here’s a little run-down of how I got on with my mini-goals this month.

1. Run three times a week, gradually increasing pace and distance.
Done and Done! My slow pace now is what my fast pace was pre-injury so I’m quite chuffed. While it’s not quite as fast as I aim to be, to complete a marathon in 4h30m, I think I’m on the right track. I’ve maybe pushed too hard on my long runs but it’s felt good so I don’t think I’m doing myself any harm increasing by more than the recommended 10% a week. I think this is because I’ve been varying my running and not increasing my weekly mileage much more than 10% each week. My long run to increase distance is a solo effort, I can really listen to myself and vary my pace accordingly. Then I take one of my runs with a very active friend of mine, this pushes me to keep up the speed. I’ve also been doing a short run with my Sister-in-law at a slower pace which has been helping to increase stamina, and also keeps my HR in the ‘fat burning’ zone, which is all good!

2. Go for a walk every weekend, gradually increasing distance.
Unfortunately haven’t managed every weekend due to some plans falling through but 2/4 ain’t bad so I’m counting this as a success. Also, while the distances haven’t been increasing, my husband and I have been taking advantage of the lengthening evenings and getting out twice a week after work for a few miles.

3. Work on core fitness and stability
So, this is where I fall down. Slap handies, I just haven’t been that arsed with circuit training. I’ve done a couple of sessions but nothing sustained, this will have to be a rollover goal.
Stretching on the otherhand has been a great success, after each of my long runs I have been doing a good session of yoga with sequences particularly aimed at runners. I really enjoy this so will endevour to find the time to keep it up.

4. Keep on top of diet and hydration
I am so very happy with myself on this one. Over February I lost half a stone 🙂 and I have baked every week! Keeping my meals regular and planning my treats really works for me… must keep it up. Hydration is still going well but I still really have to think about it or I get to the end of the day and realise I haven’t had any water, or ‘corporation pop’ as my mum used to call it. However, my tea-pot and I are never far away from eachother, I’m having at least 2 pots of herbal tea a day so maybe I just don’t need the water?

5. Sleep
Erm… Getting there (she says, in bed but very much awake, and not likely to turn off the light for another hour or so when it is already gone half eleven). Must try harder on this one.

All in all, not too shabby. Big shout out to Weight Wars having goals to comit to is spurring me on no end!

13 in 13 – February begins…

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Well, the overall goal for this month is to improve fitness following injury.

The good news is, (great news actually) I’m allowed to run! After four months consigned to the sofa, I am finally allowed to run again! The Consultant has said to build up slowly, keep it flat (that’s the trails ruled out for a while) and to wear a cushioned but supportive shoe (I have shiny new shoes!). Baring this in mind, here are my five mini-goals for the month.

1. Run three times a week, gradually increasing pace and distance.
When I got the go ahead on being able to run I took myself for a, very slow, mile run. It went well so I doubled it, at a faster pace, the next time I went out. Still no pain so I think 2 miles is a good point from which I can start increasing my pace and distance. I’m aiming to go out on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday so I have good recovery time between runs. But what to do on my days off…

2. Go for a walk every weekend, gradually increasing distance.
Over the last couple of weekends I have increased my walking distance from 3 miles to 6 miles. While it would be great to double it each week I think I might just take it as it comes and see what I can fit in given the weather and company. I’m wanting to get out more with friends and my Husband; we all have different levels of fitness so that will determine whether I’m being pushed or doing the pushing. Stay tuned for where we get to this weekend!

3. Work on core fitness and stability
While I did do some upperbody work in the first couple of months of incapacity, I let it all go, had a huff and just stopped doing anything. I was by no means a muscle power-house before the injury but I had improved drastically and I’m hoping it won’t take too long to get some of it back again. My aim is to do circuit exercises twice a week on a Tuesday and Thursday and to dedicate more time to strengthening exercises during my post-run stretches.

4. Keep on top of diet and hydration
Following on from last month I want to keep up my good eating habits and safeguard myself from subconcious sabotage. For this, I aim to have three meals a day and to drink at least a litre of water each day. I have a litre bottle to keep with me so I can keep track of my intake and I’m hoping my last goal will help me to fit in my three regular meals.

5. Sleep
Yes, sleeping is one of my goals. Although, there are a few conditions to this sleep.
For five nights out of seven I aim to be in bed by 11pm each evening, read for half an hour and be asleep by Midnight… Sounds simple but we’ll see how I go. This could be a hard one. Following sleep I want to get up in the morning and have breakfast… This means getting up in time to have breakfast rather than clutching to the bed like a moody teenager. Again, I’ll have to see how I get on with this one. I do like my bed, a lot.

So, that’s this month’s gauntlet. I’ll let you know how it goes at the end of the month!

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