Tears at Mile 15.5…

Its been a busy old week and I’ve finally arrived back to the Cotswolds and got the time to sit down and write… phew!

Running wise, I have had a week off after a rather frustrating and painful race on Sunday. We were all back down in Surrey for the Cranleigh 15/21 miler and this was going to be my longest run before Marathon day. The sun was shining, I was a bag of nerves as ever but felt confident and excited to complete the distance. The last 3 weeks of early morning races have been amazing practise for fuelling, dealing with nerves, mental preparation and generally just getting in to the race day mood. Last Sunday the sun was shining and it was a lovely atmosphere….

When the race got going, I felt great. I found a nice pace to run at, didn’t feel strained or out of breath…just steady and strong. However, by about mile 3 I started to feel a tugging and tightness to the left of my left knee which didn’t seem to want to go away. I considered stopping there and then but a few more miles in it had eased slightly so I decided to carry on. Beyond mile 9 or 10 I started to feel it again and this time it was becoming more painful. Being a country race we were on the roads and being directed to stay to the left of the road. I think it was the camber flaying havoc with me as well as a very tight ITB, something that I hope won’t be a problem on the big day. Other than this annoying niggle, I was absolutely fine and really enjoying the run….

By half marathon stage I was really struggling and tried to decide what to do…The good thing about this race was that you could either continue on for 21 miles or complete at 15 miles. After a massive incline I had to stop and stretch my leg out and a lovely runner who I had chatted to earlier in the day stopped to help me which was so sweet.  By this point I was in a lot of pain and panicking that I had done some serious damage…this is also the point that the tears started to flow…I picked it up for the last mile and then optimistically turned the corner to try for 21….by 15.5 I was out…My brain kicked in over my stubborn heart and I decided it’s just not worth continuing if it puts me out of the Marathon. This challenge is too important to me and I have worked too hard over the last 6 months for pride to lead me to injury….I pulled over and stretched out…tears tears tears as runners passed me. I felt such a rush of disappointment that I couldn’t finish the 21.

After letting the marshall know that I had stoppped after trying to continue I called my mum (aww) and by this point I was really upset as I couldn’t manage to run through the finish line to get an official time… However, the lovely lady at the end of the race came over while I was on the phone and gave me a 15 mile medal, took my hand and helped me hobble to the St Johns Ambulance to get my leg iced… Tears = medal. After icing, rehydrating and watching friends come through the finish line I hobbled back to the car very slowly to stretch out and down a chococlate milk.

What I learnt on Sunday is that it is easy to be competitive and try to push yourself through pain in order to achieve the goal in place that day, AND it’s also very hard to be that competitive person and to pull yourself out…It was the best decision I could have made!!

On Tuesday I went off to On Track Sports Therapy in Brixton to have a full body rub down and it was so very needed by that point. Isla did an amazing job, especially on my ITB (youch) and I left feeling far less stiff and sore which was brilliant….Keeping up the foam roller work is not vital to keeping in shape for race day…

This Sunday I am planning on doing a steady 10 miler and then for the final week and a half of training, shorter runs before tailing off…last weekend has knocked my confidence a bit but I am focused on looking after myself in order to make it to that all important start line (and finish line) injury and illness free….

If you’re running a Marathon soon, how are you feeling about it? Have you completed your longest run yet?

I CANNOT believe it’s only a few weeks to go but it is also very exciting – making plans for the Charity really brings it all home….cheering points, post race celebrations and pasta party plans and picturing the course and London sights en route….this is what I and all those taking on Marathons have been working towards for 6 months…..BRING.IT.ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As the actual running tails off, I am focusing on other aspects of the day itself and this week is music…I have been building my playlist gradually while training but now I am looking for input from friends and indeed other runners….If you have any suggestions, please leave them as a comment…. I am going to post my final list the week before Race Day…. 🙂

Happy Running everyone and thank you for reading…

frankiesaysrun xxx

I am fundraising for the Charity I work for called Variety, the Children’s Charity….It is an amazing cause supporting children who are disabled and disadvantaged by providing specialist equipment such as wheelchairs, sensory toys and coaches… the difference the Charity makes to a child’s life is instant and every time I meet the children we help, I am humbled by their positivety and strength. If you would like to support the work that we do, please follow the link below…every little really does help….Take a look at Sam’s story……http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FClp1HIr0Es THANKYOU…

Frankie’s page….http://www.justgiving.com/franklesfirstmarathon

Back in the game…slowly but surely

As a very competitive person, the last two weeks have been tough! I was suffering, as you may have previously read, from a very sore lower left leg. At first I thought I had shin splints but after a consultation with On Track Sports Therapy they found that I needed to build the strength in the muscles surrounding my ankles and shin. My calves have been over compensating and had therefore become very very tight and had started pulling on my shin – yowch! I was also advised that I needed to bring my pace down slightly as this was contributing to my sore little legs. So over the last two weeks I have been doing my prescribed daily strength exercises and rolling my calves out on the glorious foam roller… Focusing on each leg at a time during strength training has really highlighted how weak I am on my left side – the easy test for me was trying to balance on my left leg without wobbling at the ankle…lets just say it’s going to take some more practise and constant training to improve that.

So last night I went out for my first “getting back to it” run with the main aim being  – NO PAIN….and we have success!!! My physio has advised that I drop the pace of my runs and trainon grass instead of just pavement. I actually loved it…there’s something much for interesting about running on grass (does that sound silly?) but I really enjoyed it and even though you’re only meters from the road and the bustle of the street, I felt a bit more removed from it all which was fab!! I really focused as well on keeping my stride shorter as I think I was putting unnecessary strain and impact on my legs. I found a really comfortable pace last night that I know I could keep up over a longer distance, so I felt I really achieved something.

Still…slowly but surely…I’m not going to overdo it as I couldn’t bear to take more time off and I have strict instructions that (in the nicest way possible) my physio Amy doesn’t want to have to see me again for anything other than a sports massage 🙂

My plan from now on is to do steady pace middle distance runs in the week with some fartlek training thrown in and really save my legs for the weekend long runs. I have also made the decision to leave a day between each run to make sure that I can recover properly. Lets hope this works….. I have to say, getting in a bubble bath post run is a luxury I am very much enjoying especially in this cold weather…

How is everyone out there in the marathon training world getting on? 11.5 weeks to go….argh…

Got any good soft grassy routes you could share with me? I would LOVE to hear them…

It feels great to be back in the game….

Distance: 7.21 miles

Time: 57mins 51secs

Pace avg:  8’01”

Weather: Cold and dry

Music: My song of the run was Coldplay,Paradise

frankiesaysrun xxx

I am also fundraising for Variety, the Children’s Charity. We work to improve the lives of children who are disabled or disadvantaged and if you need an example of the difference we make, please watch this short film… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOWVNRISdNA

If you would like to donate please click HERE – every penny really does count….THANKYOU!!! xxx

14 weeks to go…

I now have the weeks numbered in my diary as a count down to the start line, the training plan is on the fridge and the freezer is stocked up with meals for ultimate running fuel. In our house, the main focus is the Marathon and more regularly, now that we’re well and truly in to 2012, I keep getting flutters of nerves and excitement.

I’m still having a bit of an issue with my left shin & calf muscle that I am trying to manage through rest, plenty of stretching, yoga and of course ICE!!!! It’s a great excuse to sit still for a bit with an ice pack on my leg…. However, it is extremely frustrating not being able to just head out when my training plan tells me too….it feels like I’m failing before I’ve even got there but as all the sensible people keep telling me, it’s not worth permanent damage so I  put my very competitive side in a little box for a week and took it easy….Not doing the Marathon isn’t an option for me, so physio is booked and hopefully I’ll be back on my little legs v soon. I’m doing lots of reading on recovery, injury management and generally nutrition surrounding training to make sure that I am as strong as possible.

So, since I last blogged, I have completed 3 training runs but with limited internet at home and being a busy bunny at work, I haven’t had a chance to catch up…

Weekend before last, I started my Saturday with some hill training at the gym on the cross trainer…even though I was in the fantastic company of Miss Walton, my goodness, cross training is DULL, DULL, DULL!!! The only thing that kept me going was watching the Tinie Tempah music videos… It felt good to be doing something despite sore shin *grr* but it certainly didn’t give you half the thrill of running outdoors.

Time: 40 mins

Pace: Level 7

Distance: 9.08 km

Music: The sound of Miss Walton’s voice…

Sunday = long run day so after a good breakfast the skins were donned and off I jolly well went. I took this run at a steadier pace as I was very aware of my shin which at this point hated me for even thinking about running… Not far into it I had to stop to cross at traffic lights, which I hate anyway and that was it, the shin was done and my muscles said NO! I decided to loop back towards my hood so that I wasn’t too far from home but could attempt to complete the time. After having to stop, I felt really thrown and out of sync but I figured, if I can’t get myself back home now, how the hell am I going to keep myself going on Marathon day if things get tough. Despite the pain though, I actually felt much fitter as if I was making progress which is a great feeling. The last road to mine is called “death road”…massive hill…nemesis…I pushed myself up it and it didn’t destroy me but it was certainly enough for the day…Recovery shake, stretch out followed by an ice pack on my leg helped me to feel less lame. I don’t like a broken run but when it comes to mental strength, it can’t hurt to practise.

Time: 56mins 03

Pace: 7’25”

Distance: 7.54 miles

A major area I have been focusing on is correct running form – not as easy as it looks. Making changes feels uncomfortable but it is a MUST for me otherwise I’ll definitely injure myself again. Has anyone else out there in the running and twitter world got tips on form or stories about improving yours? I’ve been thinking about the Running School so enquiries are being made.

Tuesday was an Easy Run day *phew* so me and my housemate who is also training decided to run together. London Marathon describe this run as “you should be able to chat while running – 50-60% of race pace”…Naturally we talked boys, bags and all things girlie… It was lovely to have some company while running. Finished off in central Brixton….stretching out on the street was interesting – all sorts of funny looks…ha!

Time: 30mins 12

Pace: 8’07”

Distance: 3.72 miles

The following Monday led to conversations about funny names on running vests – I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time. Some of them will not be mentioned on here as there is no rating system and our favourite is definitely not suitable for a younger audience. What will you be putting on your vest? Obviously your name in general is vital so that people can cheer you on but are you thinking of putting something a bit different to make you laugh along the way. My house mate was thinking “fatty” (her idea & for the record she isn’t fat) as it would crack her up to hear people shouting “come on fatty” “keep going fatty” throughout the race…. It may brighten the darkest of Marathon moments…. we will see and report back…

Nearly a week down *dying to run* and the physio is tonight…keep your fingers crossed for me…they fixed me last time so I have faith in them… If you are London based and looking for a good physio, I highly recommend Amy and Isla at Ontrack Sports Therapy.

For all those reading this and training, I hope it’s going really well….

Physio report blog to follow…

For now….Happy running!

frankiesaysrun xxx

Fire those glutes…and then get a rub down

After a week of being under the weather and tucked up in bed, I took to Brockwell Park on Saturday morning with my roomie Laxy for some strength and hill training. We went to boot camp together a couple of months ago and wanted to do some of the workouts that we had learnt there for strengthening our core and legs. It was such a beautiful morning that it made getting up and out a lot easier and Brockwell park certainly didn’t let us down…..lots of runners, cute dogs and PT sessions going on so it makes you feel like your not alone in getting fit.

We went for power training – 30 mins non stop and if I’m being honest I had to lie down at the end as the world went a bit spinny for a few seconds *woops* – Those burpees always get us both…! See below for our little routine and if you happen to see a blonde and brunette running up and down the hill at Brockwell on a Saturday morning and cursing burpees, it’s probably us! I also did some bed time reading before hand to make sure we were focusing on the right exercises – Paula Radcliffe’s book “How to Run” is great and really breaks things down well. I would definitely recommend it!

A bit of strength training

Deep squats (10 reps), Kettle swing 3kg (15 reps), Plank with wide steps (10 reps), Burpees (10 reps), Twisted press up (10 reps)

Between each of these, sprint up the hill to your staggered markers – we had 3 different distances and just carried on repeating until 30 minutes was up….it makes for a decent work out and a good toosh!! If you need inspiration, check out this girls work out videos…we sat and gasped for quite a while at the weekend – http://www.bodyrock.tv/ (of course this is how good we look in our living room first thing in the morning….)

However…my treat after our workout was a full body sports massage at On Track Sports Therapy based in Fitness First, Brixton. Amy and Isla treated me when I was injured and they were amazing so I can fully recommend their knowledge and skills. I am going to be having regular massages there in the build up to the race as I hope it’s a good way to spot any possible injuries early and be able to sort them out before they become anything that will stop me running the marathon. Amy pointed out a weakness around my knee and recommended that I focus my tennis ball massage on that area after my next run…which I did and it feels ok today 🙂 *happy face*. Amy is also running the Marathon and so we nattered about our training and talked muscles and joints…I find it all a bit fascinating *geeky hat on*

By the end of the day on Saturday my legs felt very tired so the weekend was for rest and Monday, as you will read in my next instalment was definitely all about running…

If you have any good strength exercises to share I would love to hear them….

Happy running

frankiesaysrun xxx

I am running the London Marathon for the Variety club Children’s Charity – if you would like to know more about what we do, watch this short film and see the difference the money I raise can make…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWt1H3q9ETI&feature=related

If you would like to donate, please check out my Just Giving page – every little really does help…thank you xx

The drizzle will not defeat me…

It’s Monday morning…it’s grey and drizzley – not the most inspiring of days to say the least. Tonight I will be putting on my bright pink running gear and heading out to do a 10k run…My aim this week is to do 18.5 miles in total and it begins tonight…wish me luck!

I got some great advice from my friend Lucie over the weekend which I thought I would share – She does Triathlons (what a machine) and commented on my blog about suffering from very sore muscles. Here is what she had to say “Amino acids are great for muscle recovery and really help tackle DOMS – you can get them in Holland&Barrett.” I will be heading out at lunch today to invest…

Have a great weeks training everyone – I will be updating as I go…

frankiesaysrun xx

New Socks but no Chocolate Buttons

Last night was Sweatshop Running Club and it’s been just under a week since I last ran as I was suffering from really bad pain in my calves so focused on recovering properly – the last thing I want to do is get injured this early on – I would be devastated. I’m very tired this week so pushing myself to get out and run has been challenge – luckily I have lots of people around me on  Wednesday to keep me at pace and keep me amused (Chris did a good job this week even if it is hard work laughing and running – surely it improves fitness?) The one thing I failed on massively was providing chocolate buttons for when we all got back – I need to up my game for next time. Just the multi pack mini size is the perfect treat for post running sugar hehe.

I suppose you can’t be thrilled about training every time you go out even if it is a shorter run. but I have to say at the points I just wanted to stop last night because I was being a grump, as soppy as it might sound, the reason I am running the London Marathon always comes to mind. Boys like Sam go through so much with their disabilities and are still grinning so why can’t I drag my sorry arse out and run in the cold…It’s not for my whole life so I can manage to get through it.

Before I ran this week, I did treat myself to a pair of delicious new running socks – as recommended by Mr Barnes himself – They’re Hilly Anklet socks and are mega comfortable…well worth the investment! Can they guarantee that I’ll turn into a super runner like him? I’m not sure, but I can give it a go!

After a good stretch and a glass of red wine (the pub club part) I headed home to tennis ball my muscles – its my new favourite “get rid of those pesky knots” technique after learning it at Back2Basics boot camp. It’s bloomin’ painful but the exquisite sort of pain that you know is doing you good – I focused on my calves particularly (youch) and also the arches of my feet as they’re very high and sometimes ache after a run….in the morning my little muscles felt fine…I recommend it highly and its a cheap way of massaging…Get tennis balling people!!

I’ve been getting donations is this week as well which is a great motivator when you know people are gunning for you to do well….thank you to those who have donated so far, if you’re reading this….it means a lot to me….and even more to the children that you are helping…

Distance: 5.50 miles

Time: 39.55

Pace: 7’15” (although I’m not 100% sure that’s right)

Weather: Dry and Mild

Music: None (just banter)

Over and out until Fridays run….

Thanks for reading

frankiesaysrun xxxx

http://www.justgiving.com/franklesfirstmarathon

The Charity I am running for: Variety Children’s Charity

Kettle Bell

I’ve just been out to buy a kettle bell for my London Marathon strength training. Me and some of the girls went to boot camp with Back2Basics up in Yorkshire about a month and among other things, got a tough lesson in the importance of core training for the Marathon – As obvious as it may sound that a strong core is vital, it can be easily forgotten and I discovered that it is something I need to work on as I have a very curved lower back. We learnt how effective the kettle bell is for both strength & endurance building and also fab for toning (woo)… It’s also cheaper than paying for the gym just to use weights – I paid £10 in Sports Direct for a 3kg weight which is perfect for getting started and I simply use it at home.

I will be practising my technique to make sure I don’t injure myself using it and I’ll let you know how I get on – all very exciting!!