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”

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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

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

Run in the Sun!

Sorry about the delay in blogging – After my run on Friday I had to dash off to the North and its been non stop since then! Thank you to Sam Barnes for making me feel loved this morning and reminding me that I needed to get writing… I have some lovely feedback and comments left on my blog – thank you guys!!! 😀

So, Friday I had a day off work…*smug* and what a gorgeous day it was – it was so bright and sunny that I was just dying to get out and run. I had planned my longest distance to date as I wasn’t going to be back in London in time on Sunday.

I had a very delicious smoothie before I set off (Innocent smoothie with the bobble hats – awwww) to give me a boost…and away we go!

Now…I’m sure other runners might experience the same as I did but running at a time of day that you don’t normally run, in the sunshine, can have quite the effect on how you feel and your performance….and the effect on me wasn’t good on Friday *sad face*…. I think I was a bit thrown by the fact that it was light and it was really warm once I got going so my little bod didn’t know what was going on. The week before I was all wrapped up in my burglars hat. It was all mind games to keep going and I had to stop once to try to get myself refocused – I was getting all frustrated. Once I’s had a little world with myself (ha)  I got into my stride a bit more and tried to keep up a good pace!

Once I got to the last 400m of the run I was going up hill and was determined not to bloomin’ stop… I think the people driving past me must have thought I was a bit nuts because I tend to have a little jump for joy when my Nike + trainer tells me I have reached my goal…. Well you have to celebrate the achievement, even if you are on your own!

Stretch out, roll my muscles out, eat some protein and off I dash to catch my coach – I slept pretty much all the way to Notts….knackered Frankie!

Distance: 7.02 miles

Time: 49 minutes 52

Pace: 7’06”

Weather: Autumn Sunshine 

Music: More Running Playlist – It really is mainly Tinie Tempah keeping me entertained at the moment!

This week I’ll be increasing my long run distance by 10% and focusing on some strength training as well – to top it off, I have a sports massage on Saturday morning with On Track Sports Therapy at Fitness First in Brixton….Cannot Wait!

If anyone has any really pretty running routes they would like to share with me, I’d love to hear them as I think I’m going to get sick of the sight of Clapham Common very soon….

Happy running everyone!

frankiesaysrun xxx