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

“The route is mainly flat with a few short sharp hills” YEAH RIGHT

Last Sunday I took on my longest mileage to date with other lovely friends training for the Marathon and one crazy friend who just ran 20 miles for the crack – crazy boy! It was the Spitfire race in Surrey so it was a lovely change of scenery from the streets of London and not one set of traffic lights to stop at. Hooray! Oh and we started on the Top Gear airfield so that was an added level of excitement for us all….

All 4 of us have run in bigger races so this felt like a much more intimate race in comparison and we were happily surrounded by other fellow running geeks all discussing their watches, trainers and eyeing up other peoples running gear with envy…

We were a bit rushed starting which wasn’t ideal as we didn’t get a chance to warm up properly, so we were all desperately stretching & bouncing around trying to prepare while furiously attempting to pin on the blasted running number… Finally we were all ready and dashed up to the start line…we’d missed the fog horn but the race was chip timed so there wasn’t an issue with crossing the start slightly after the stampede of runners. I have to say that I was trying not to think too much about the distance I was about to take on but instead break it down into four Sweatshop runs so that the distances were bitesize…. The race was also a double loop route so whatever we took on in the first loop we knew we had to do again – I still haven’t decided whether that was a good thing or not.
Charlotte and I started the race together (see perfectly in sync photo) and it was really lovely to run with someone else at the pace that we had chosen…we decided to try and keep a steady eight to eight and half minute mile so that we didn’t burn out early…It’s so easy to rush off especially when you’re as competitive as me so I was super strict with myself. What we did find on our way round was that these “short sharp hills” turned out to be never ending, absolute killer hills that we knew we would have to do AGAIN… Joy!

This was a fantastic day for practising race day fuelling as there were water points throughout and lovely volunteers handing out jelly baby’s (yum). As well as that I was stocked up with gels, jelly beans and lucozade to keep me going. Having water along the way was great, however, trying to drink out of a cup on the go and at pace is not an easy task…it did make for some amusing moments during the race though…trying to drink desperately and ending up snorting most of it while losing the rest of it down my front made me laugh a lot which is also not easy while running so all in all it was generally hilarious at each stop…. The volunteers were fantastic and so supportive on the way round congratulating those racing and cheering us on.

After a quick loo stop half way it was on to lap two and by this point Charlotte was way ahead so it was just me and my little legs… I was still on target for the time that I wanted but as I approached mile 16 and the hill that I was dreading second time round I was very aware that I would be achieving my furthest mileage so I focused my mind on that and failing was not an option. I forgot to write Never Give Up and Smile on my hand for this race but by the final miles when my hip flexor was in a fair amount of pain and my lower back was aching more than it ever has before I said it out loud for those blasted hills…I just didn’t want to stop at all as it affects my mentality for the race…Giving up is not an option and neither is stopping…the hills will not defeat me! At mile 18 there was final incline and I have to say I was not impressed…A man running behind me laughed as I swore out loud when I saw it… I think my mind had blocked it out but I kept going….never give up and smile, never give up and smile, never give up and smile….. The final corner couldn’t come fast enough now… This was the toughest part of the race for me and by now I was in pain and wondering, if I had to do another 10k, could I? Mentally, that day….no! But I was determined to finish in under 2:50 so when I saw the final 100 metres and the crowd I pulled it together for a fast finish…. It was an amazing feeling and Charlotte was there cheering me…yay! Over the finish line and I’ve done it!!!! 20 miles on a Sunday and its not even lunch time….BOOM! Bless the lady taking the chips off our trainers…I couldn’t get my leg up on the bucket so she had to kneel down to help me out…loved her at that point. We all got medals which was also a fantastic feeling! This was followed by stretching, yelping and downing recovery shake.

I couldn’t lift my left leg very well which I was a bit worried about so we all went in for a rub down which was one of the best decisions I made that day…bliss.

That evening, we arrived home, ordered take away and generally crashed out. Totally and utterly shattered and very very sore. The following morning the stairs were not my friend and  so I booked in for an On Track Sports Therapy session for the Tuesday to help recovery. My hamstrings were agony but it was worth the exquisite pain – Amy, if you’re reading this, I don’t know what I would do without you right now….

So the next run is this evening but I am just doing an easy five miler to give my legs a bit of a stretch out in preparation for the race this weekend. Yes, that’s right, another Surrey country run…just the 21 miles to achieve and I think this will be my longest before Marathon day. Just to add to the nerves, the clocks go forward this weekend so we lose an hour over night…not what I need! Carbo loading begins tomorrow…..bring on the pasta!

My final race time for the Spitfire was 2:49:32 which I was really pleased with considering the hills and the pain by the end… It’s all great practise but makes race day feel very very close….

Not long now!!!

How is everyone training finding the longer runs now? Are you doing races or pounding the pavements?

Time: 2:49:32

Distance: 20 miles

Pace: 8:30 Avg

Music: My tune of the race was Chase and Status, Eastern Jam….It got me up a very tough hill and kept me going.

Happy Running – Good luck with any races and long runs this weekend

frankiesaysrun 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

It’s my Marathon Year – Lets catch up

Hello runners and readers – Happy New Year!!! After a busy busy build up to Christmas and then a lovely restful break, 2012 is finally here which means it’s MARATHON YEAR and most definitely all systems go.

During December, I was really run down and my shins were suffering so with a mixture of being poorly and and trying to keep my little legs in working order, I took it easy for the final week before heading home to the countryside. My friend Jeanie got me thinking about my form while running as well as she has been doing a course and so I made it my mission of my next run to watch how my feet strike the ground and adapt my form if necessary – turns out it is necessary as I was heel striking and I think that’s what was causing pain in my shins. It feels very strange when you try and adapt how you have been running for a long time but so far I think it has helped so watch this space as it’s a work in progress…*focused face*

While back in Oxfordshire, I donned my kit and took myself out into the country air for some training – It is such a bizarre experience barely seeing anyone and stretches of fields instead of Clapham Common and tonnes of runners but it was a lovely and welcome change of scenery. As a training run, it was a great mix of steep hills, steady inclines and some flatter terrain to pick up pace. I did focus very hard on form and my core and I have to say that after the run, my shins weren’t as sore as they normally are – that was a big positive for me. The other positive was that my lovely mum had made me a power smoothie for when I got up and then a protein and carb dream of a breakfast for when i got back – Could I work regionally for 4 months and train back home? It’s the dream! *love you mum*.

Unfortunately, that was my only country run as my immune system decided to flunk out on me again and I had the most terrible cold which equalled bed for me and lots of hot drinks and sleep… However, I didn’t completely neglect my bod. My Mum teaches Yoga and she taught me salute to the sun which I made sure I did every morning as well as some other stretching….it’s remarkable how much Yoga can help you…flexibility, strength, immune system boosting, calm mind etc etc… I could go on… I have decided to take it up on a regular basis in London as a part of my training and the bid for a healthier mind and body *excited*

Back in London town, I saw in the New Year and then classically spent January 1st recovering from the celebrations. Full of energy on the Monday I took to the streets after mapping my route on nike plus (love it). I am now starting to take on energy drink/fuel as I run so this was my first proper trial with an energy drink that was given to me for Xmas. I have never been a fan of running and holding on to a bottle, but it actually didn’t feel too bad the drink really helped me on my way round. Again I was watching my form and it is slowly becoming easier not to be thinking about it constantly. In general I felt strong throughout and even managed Cedars road *uphill nemesis* without being too crushed…woop! My only downer on this run was a twinge in the top of my left leg as I turned onto Poynders Road to take on the final hill…I had to pause and stretch it out to get home. On my return it was shake time and lots of stretching and foam roller action…The following morning I felt a tad achey but after some salute to the sun I was feeling a lot better. Seriously, YOGA YOGA YOGA!!!

So tonight is first running club back for 2012 at Sweatshop in Clapham and this is my steady run for the week. Really looking forward to seeing everyone. I am now following the “Go For It” training plan in the London Marathon magazine which is 5 days a week of fun times…wish me luck…13 weeks of full training to go and then tail off time….

If you’re reading this and also doing a Marathon, I hope your training is going well….!

Country Run

Distance: 8.17 miles

Time: 1:01:48

Pace: 7’33”

Weather: Drizzly and mild

Music: My ever lengthening marathon playlist

Back in London

Distance: 9.6 miles

Time: 1:12:47

Pace: 7’32”

Weather: Cold and dry

Music: Labrinth, Earthquake was my new addition….Oh yes!!!

If you have any hints, tip or advice based on what I’ve rattled on about, please do leave them below…Its great to hear what other runners are up to 🙂

I must also mention that I am now trying to boost my fundraising for Variety, the Children’s Charity. Please watch this short film about Sam and see the difference that your donation can make. We want to continue improving young people’s lives everyday…Please donate if you can and help me reach my target of £2000. Every little helps…thank you so much! xx

Happy Running everyone….

frankiesaysrun xxxx

I look a bit like a burglar…

….but I got out and ran in the miserable weather last night. I decided to stick at 6.2 miles as I had a bad week last week and didn’t run as much as I should (naughty Frankie) I wanted to get that distance under my belt again. I did my Clapham Common, Abbeville Road, Brixton Hill route and I’ll tell you what, that hill at the end pushed me right into lactic acid pain because I really went for it… I was competing with myself a bit but I can’t help it when I’m running on my own.

I was pondering on my way round, the ways in which I can mentally get myself through the tough points of the Marathon. Obviously, running for a charity that helps children is a huge drive and I am planning on running mile 20 & 24 in memory of our friend CJ so there are already things that I can focus on if I’m struggling at these points. One idea I came up with is to break parts down into smaller chunks and pretty much pretend I’m at running club (just a really giant running club with cheerers) and focus on 6 mile chunks. The other is to choose some favourite albums and work out how long they last. I can then assign them to certain miles and lose myself in the music. My favourite album to run to at the moment is Tinie Tempah, Discovery – Frisky and Miami2Ibiza are great for keeping a steady pace… Emile Sande, Heaven, also helped me to get up Brixton Hill in a big way….Love her!!

Do have any mind games you play to keep you going? Certain tunes you run to?

I think music is a particularly personal thing for each runner but I am definitely one for a tune with a good beat and anything that inspires me…

I feel a playlist blog entry coming on….

Distance: 6.2 miles

Time: 46 mins

Pace: 7’32”

Weather: Cold and damp

Music: Tinie Tempah, Emeli Sande and Youngblood Brass Band

12.3 to go this week…Happy training everyone…

frankiesaysrun xxx

If you would like to donate to the Variety Club Children’s Charity, please follow the link below…thank you

http://www.justgiving.com/franklesfirstmarathon