“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

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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”

An interesting 13 miles…

So I did my first half marathon distance at the weekend and a couple of important things went wrong early on in the session…

Firstly, my running belt dropped my carb gel which I was intending on testing out (argh) and then my Nike chip decided to give up and tell me that I was running and zero pace…I think not…(double argh) This didn’t help at two miles in but I decided to crack on and see how I got on. On the plus side it was a beautiful day – so sunny and there were plenty of people out running which was great!

In the morning I got up nice and early and fuelled up properly to practise the routine – Every long run, I am noting down what I eat before hand so that I can monitor how my body takes it on. So far I haven’t any disasters…phew! This time I had porridge with grated dark chocolate on top (yum), plenty of water and then some Lucozade to give me a kick just before I left… Even with the minor issues at the beginning, the first ten miles felt really good and breezey… Then I started to run out of energy as the Lucozade was running low…As  was approaching Stockwell, I decided to throw myself into Sweatshop and steal a drink…I was a total sweaty mess by this point…what a lovely surprise for Tim and the gang! After that point and having to pause to get some energy my legs just felt so heavy and it was total mental strength to keep going… I managed it though and even found some kick deep down for Brixton Hill (we have a love hate relationship)… even if people did think I was a bit nuts telling myself to “keep going”… I didn’t care at that stage…

All in all, I learnt a lot from this training session – the importance of regular fuelling and also mental strength when things get tougher… Taken on board and stored for the next big mileage…

Next weekend is Silverstone Half Marathon and I’m heading up with some of my Charity Marathon team – I’m really looking forward to spending some time with them all, donning my vest and getting my race head on…An added bonus for me is that my Mum and Dad are coming to watch me and then take me home for a nice steak…what a treat eh!?

As my Nike chip broke, I don’t have a full breakdown but I ran 13 miles and was on my feet for 1hr 48mins…. this included time to stop for a drink, get lost and have a word with myself…It’s not a time I’m particularly proud of but I think in a race environment I can knock off some serious time… Fingers crossed…

How are all you Marathon runners finding the fuelling while doing long runs? Any good gels? Tips?

Has anyone started a low fibre diet before long runs? I have heard this is a good plan so I’m trying it for the next two days….

I would also like to mention that I am running for the Charity that I work for – It’s called Variety, the Children’s Charity and we fundraise to help improve the lives of young people who are disabled and disadvantaged – I am passionate about what we do as I have seen the difference that can me made first hand and it humbles me every time… If you would like to support the cause, every penny really does count…. My JustGiving page is below along with a short film about a little boy called Sam…. Take 1 minute 48 seconds and see how your donation can change a life….

Thank you xx

http://www.justgiving.com/franklesfirstmarathon

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNiBbWgwhbc

Happy running everyone

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

Something for your Christmas list…please Santa…I have been a good girl!!

Right you beautiful runners – here’s a fancy new piece of lustworthy equipment that has just arrived at Sweatshop – Running Club Sam is very excited about it and when you purchase the watch you also get £100 worth of vouchers to spend at the shop – great investment-licious!!

Have a read – I know I want one and will be writing to Santa….I’ve been a good girl this year so fingers crossed.

It is launched on Saturday morning so get yourselves down to the shop and buy buy buy 🙂

frankiesaysrun xxx

Accidental Mileage…

So, finally I am at a computer with the internet and can tell you all about my run on Monday.  After recovering from strength training on Saturday and also the horrid virus, I decided I should knuckle down and get some miles under my belt. My intention was to do 7.8 miles – roughly a 10% increase on last time. Smoothie intake done, new Skins leggings on (ooft they’re tight but Emma says my bum looks good so happy faces all round) and off we go…. Em and I set off together and headed for the Common to do laps – a bit of a boring decision but my imagination wasn’t stretching much further on a Monday evening.

I felt really good running – no stitches, breathing settled in nicely and it felt really buzzy in Clapham…lots of runners! However, half way around my first lap of the Common my Nike+ Trainers tells me I am half way… Either I am running at lightening speed or I have set my monitor to KM not miles (duh). I don’t like stopping when I have found my pace but I re-set it to miles and kept going… Em and I were doing opposite laps so we were waving at each other on our way round…awww!

During this run, I was trying to focus on my posture and core after chatting about it with Amy at On Track Sports Therapy. When I found myself slumping I tried to engage my core and stay more upright. It felt a bit bizarre at first but I’m sure as I practise it more will benefit my running.

Nearing the end of the run I could feel the impact of a longer distance on my shins and calves – they were pretty sore and I knew that the stretching out and foam roller would be a painful session. Our neighbours must wonder what we’re doing with all the screeching and yelping coming from our living room. I’m really hoping that with proper recovery, my shins won’t be too much of an issue – it’s becoming clear that I am going to have to keep an eye on them and make sure I focus on them especially as mileage increases. Massage and ice have been recommended before so I will take that on board.

By the time I’d finished my run and made it up the hill to home, I knew I’d done further than 7.8 miles, I could feel I had – After adding up the accidental miles it turns out I’d run 9.7 miles – slightly more than intended but at least I know I can do it… On to a painful recovery session but it was very much needed… Even the tennis ball came into use… youch!!

Distance: 9.7 miles

Time: 1hr 9mins 24 secs

Pace: 7″11

Weather: Dry and cold

Music: Running playlist – loved a bit of Incubus to get me up the last hill…. Oh and Beyonce’s Run the World is most definitely a tune for the difficult miles – Who run the world? GIRLS!

NB: I invested in some Skins running leggings from Sweatshop last weekend – not only are they fiiiiiiiit they were so comfortable to run in – I can fully recommend them and they will keep my little legs warm during the winter months and cool during the warmer times. Worthwhile investment fo’shizzle 🙂

Happy Running everyone – stay safe in the increasingly cold weather. If any of Team Variety are reading this, I hope your training is going well….It’s been really lovely to chat to you this week… Keep up the amazing work!!

frankiesaysrun xxx

Would you like to see why I am running the Marathon?

Sam’s Film

Frankie’s fundraising page

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