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

Silverstone DONE!

Last Sunday was race day….My first half marathon race ever and I was nervous but very excited to meet some of my Marathon team and get a run out in our new Charity vests. My day started early with a massive bowl of porridge and dark chocolate, followed by plenty of water, Lucozade and my favourite chocolate milk. I was trying to eat as much as I could before getting on the coach as we had a two hour journey to Silverstone but with butterflies in the mix, I struggled to cram it all in. So I headed on out with a stash of bananas, bars and even more Lucozade to keep me going.

It was such a beautiful sunny day and Silverstone was buzzing when we arrived…We warmed up, took on the last fluids before the race and had the all important final toilet stop before heading off to the start line…At this point, the butterflies in my stomach were in full force… Music in and off we gooooooooo…..

My race plan was to find a comfortable pace to try and stick at and make sure that Lee from my running club stayed in sight…. My parents were there to cheer me on which at miles 4, 7 & 11 gave me such a rush of running happiness. I know this will sound obvious but it is so different running with a big group of people compared to training on my lonesome around the streets on Brixton, Clapham and Battersea. I found it really positive as the competitive side of me wants to beat those in front of me and make sure that I don’t get stuck in a pack of runners at a slower pace…

Overall I felt really good throughout the race – I had enough fuel on me to keep topped up and my little legs felt strong. I also felt extremely determined as I knew I wanted a particular time and once my mind was set on it failure was not an option. Never give up…and SMILE was written on my hand and at any point that I felt my head go down I reminded myself why I am running and focused my mind again. My toughest miles were 9 and 12. Once I reach mile 10, I feel like I’m over the big hill for a half marathon but the midway miles are always hard for me…12 was the mile where I could see the finish line but it is still just out of reach and 13.1 just seems to take forever to arrive…Luckily for me at the point that I felt at my slowest and my head was dropping, Beyonce, Run the World started to play and WOW, I swear it was better than  a carb gel…serious energy and power in my legs for the final stretch…the crowds are in sight, the finish line is in sight, the clock reads 1:38:00 and final sprint hits…it feels amazing!! I clocked in at 1:39:10 and my goal was under 1:40….HOORAY!!!! Race one in the bag….

Practising a run in very warm weather with no shade was extremely valuable for training…it can be really draining and the importance of keeping hydrated is certainly highlighted to the max. In my opinion there could have been more water stations and less Lucozade on the day but I survived….and because of all the sunshine my freckles are out early…bonus!

Post race recovery consisted of chocolate shake, lots of stretching, hugs from my team and mum and dad and then home for a hot bath and a slap up steak dinner – BLISS. Back in London town I treated myself to a post run rub down from Amy at On Track Sports Therapy…and blimey did I need it. I always seem to time my massages on DOMS days so I am constantly reminded to breathe through the pain..ha! Amy and Isla are extremely good at what they do Londoners so if you need a sports massage check them out… They fix me every time…

This week I have been absolutely shattered so I did a quick 5 miler with the girls from running club on Wednesday but I am saving my legs for the weekend…I haven’t decided yet whether to run 18 miles on my own or join in a 20 mile race in Surrey….either way it’s a big mileage so the butterflies will kick in tomorrow morning no doubt…Let the carbo loading begin…

It’s not long to go now until the big day so for all those reading this and running a Marathon, I hope training is going really well…Just remember when the mileage gets tough….NEVER GIVE UP…AND SMILE! We’ve come this far…. lets conquer those 26.2 miles…

Happy Running and thank you for reading…

frankiesaysrun xxx

I am fundraising for Variety, the Children’s Charity – an amazing cause supporting children all over the UK who are disabled and disadvantaged… If you have 1minute 40seconds to spare, watch Sam’s Film and see the instant difference a wheelchair can make to a disabled child… If you would like to donate, please follow the link below….Thank you xx

http://www.justgiving.com/franklesfirstmarathon

Distance: 13.31miles

Time: 1:39:10

Pace: 7’34”

Distance: 5 miles

Time: 40 mins

Pace: 7’40”

Never Give Up…and SMILE!

Blimey it’s been a busy couple of weeks with running and work which at the moment is mainly focused on the London Marathon….There really is no escape! The constant reminders on Twitter and Facebook that it’s only 44 days to go (yes, that’s right…argh) also add to the fact that my mind is totally consumed by running running running…

With the mileage is cranking up and after a frustrating half marathon distance a couple of weeks ago, I was feeling anxious in the build up to my 16 miler last weekend and a bit disheartened in all honesty. Luckily for me my friend Lucie who is a machine of Triathlons posted an article on my Facebook about the Iron Man Champion Chrissie Wellington which literally gave my goosebumps as I read it. She is so inspiring and has a Mantra that is now on my fridge and gets written on my hand for those long training runs…. “Never Give Up….and SMILE” So simple yet so effective! It is well worth a read…

So after a hit of homemade smoothie I kicked off March with an early morning intervals session on the treadmill to help increase my VO2 Max and also shake up my training program a bit. I did 60 seconds on and 60 seconds recovery for 8 sets and it felt good… That lactic acid certainly kicked in a bit earlier each time though and by the end it was more of a challenge but I do love a bit of interval training… I felt all glowy for the rest of the day…and maybe a tad smug that I had managed to drag myself out of bed super early…

Leading up to my long run, my week consisted of two easy pace 40 minute training sessions which both went pretty well. The second run was a bit tougher as I have found that my legs do like to rest for a day in between training so I could feel that my calf was a bit tight and causing that annoying pain in my shin… Thankfully it’s nothing that a bit of stretching, ice and a rub down can’t get rid of.

For the  next two days I focused on resting, eating well and making sure that I reduced my fibre intake in preparation. If anybody remembers last weekend you will recall that Saturday was blissfully sunny and breezy….delightful weather to run in right? Did I run that day? Of course not…I was working at our Charity event and decided to attack the miles on Sunday….well, that served me right…RAINING! Not just a bit of rain…torrential, constant and bloomin freezing…Add in a bit of hail bouncing off my face and that sums up my 16 miles in weather terms. I really wasn’t expecting it to be so cold and so I definitely wasn’t wearing enough on my bottom half – Skins just don’t suffice..This equalled very pink legs by the time I got home.

When I woke up that morning, I really wasn’t in the mood to run 16 miles…So I gave myself plenty of time to get ready, fuelled up on my favourite recipe of porridge and dark chocolate, stuck on some TUNES and got my brain in gear – Does anyone else get that super hero feeling as they put on their running gear? I can be completely unmotivated, but pull on the Skins and BOOM, I’m a runner.

I purposely chose to run two parks so that I could break up the training into smaller chucks and it really helped. It was also the first time I had tried Lucozade gels and so I didn’t want to stray too far just..in..case. They were actually ok though….thicker than I expected but I found that if I took on half a tube and then carried the rest with me and fuelled up in small squeezes over the next 15 mins, I was absolutely fine. I could actually feel the energy hitting my legs…amazing. I managed to keep a good steady pace throughout but by the time I reached the final hill, soaked to the skin and cold it was a real push to keep going…so what came to mind? NEVER GIVE UP AND SMILE…so I didn’t and I smiled and I made it…HOORAY! Home, hot bath, chocolate milk and a stretch followed by sorted me right out…

Brick Box in Brixton Village is perfect refuelling – Gallettes filled with spinach, meat, eggs and veg…Delicious…Can’t recommend it enough.

Two days of rest and recovery was topped off by and a well earned sports massage at On Track Sports Therapy in Brixton Fitness First – Again, I can’t recommend them enough…Amy and Isla are fantastic at what they do and Amy is also taking on the Marathon so she knows what we’re all going through first hand… Back in next week for another rub down…My little legs are excited!

This Sunday is my first half marathon race…EVER, and so I am attacking Silverstone with some of my Charity Marathon team…I’m excited it about it but also hugely nervous. It’s great practise for the big day and I have been doing plenty of reading about diet and preparation. I will be wearing my vest proudly for Variety, the Children’s Charity and running strong… With my lovely Mum and Dad watching, I want to make them proud too…

My main photo for this blog was sent to me by one of my fundraisers…he spotted it at an exhibition…I will be purchasing! Frankie Says Run is catching on…ha!

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend and also those tackling long training runs… Remember…NEVER GIVE UP…AND SMILE

Breakdown

Distance: 5:08 Miles

Time: 39mins 57sec

Average Pace: 7’52”

Distance: 5:19 Miles

Time: 40mins 35sec

Average Pace: 7’49”

Distance: 16miles

Time: 2:07:32

Average Pace: 7’59”

Happy Running everyone… Not long now…

frankiesaysrun xxx

I must take this opportunity to thank everyone who has donated so far to help me on my quest to raise £2000 for Variety, the Children’s Charity. There is still a way to go and every penny really does count – If you would like to support the amazing work that we do, please click here and if you would like to see how your donation can make a difference, take two minutes and watch this short film… Sam is amazing…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNiBbWgwhbc

Thank you xxx