So Long, Farewell…. For now.

Well folks, after three years of sharing my running and whatever random thoughts are in my head, I’m going to call it a day… For now. I took the site down for a week but have put it back up for sentimental reasons… and just in case. You never know when the muse may strike 😉

 

I have loved sharing my experiences with you, and being fortunate enough to receive your interest, your support and your advice. Soon I’m going back to work (ughhhhhh) and to be perfectly frank, it’s hard enough to find time to balance everything as it is without adding work into the mix. Sadly running will have to take a step back in my priority list, which means blogging will be even lower.

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 10.13.57

Trail Running in the Lake District

I am still crazy-competitive, and have certain goals that I want to smash. Such as….. running London again, doing a sub-3:30 marathon (not at London, maybe Edinburgh again!), and beating my 1:41 half time. But none of these will happen in enough time to make for an interesting blog! Here is what a post would be like:

 

Hi everyone! This week I did a 5k run with the running buggy on Saturday. It wasn’t park run, we can’t get organised enough to go to park run. I also aimed to go to the gym but did laundry instead. Then on Tuesday I ran the 1.6k to nursery with the baby, and worked in sweaty clothes all day, before running to collect her. Yay! 

 

So you can see why I’m stopping now.

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 10.13.35

Nothing is more fun than running in Paris

This blog has pushed me to keep up my training, forced me to stay honest and actually adhere to training plans, and has helped me hit huge running goals and allowed me to be self-indulgent and celebrate. I remember the day Gilly P and I were chatting online and decided we should actually do it – she is always be a huge inspiration to me, and the person who encouraged me the most in getting my 3:43 at Edinburgh, which honestly is one of my proudest moments. FYI, she smashed a half iron man recently as you do, and was cool as a cucumber about it. #lifegoals

My best bud

My best bud

Thank you all for reading – to our regulars, and to anyone who just stopped by. It’s been so much fun, and I’m grateful to have all this documented so I can bore Baby B when she’s older about my running achievements. Lucky her.

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 10.12.56

Londonnnnn!! My newest achievement

I’m not quite sure how to end this last post, so I’ll just share some random finishing thoughts:

 

  • Lemonade by Beyonce is the best album to be released since she released ‘Beyonce’ in 2013. Fact*.
  • Doing the plank with the hanging straps on the TRX machine makes it way more fun, and way more effective
  • It’s two years since I ran my Edinburgh marathon (which is very important to me still, not sure if you guessed?)
  • Women in my old running group have assured me that eventually, mothers often come back stronger and faster so I’m looking forward to that. I’m sure it will take some work!
  • Make sure you go out and run today. It’s always nice weather for running*. That’s another fact for you.
10273380_10152060705178344_307904820524195735_o

Ready for ya Edinburgh!

Thanks again everyone, I have LOVED it!!

 

Ellie B

 

*This post contains large amounts of sentimentality and any facts stated may not actually be true. But they probably are, so you should just agree.

11163899_10152745209273344_3678459162462921163_n

 

London (Marathon) Baby!

I did it!! London Marathon – check! Blisters as big as my little toe – check! Inability to walk up/down stairs for three days – check! In short, it was a roaring success.

 

Not that it was easy. Oh no. It was one of the toughest runs I’ve done. But let’s start at the beginning. I was in the green starting section, which was for Good for Age entries (like me) and celebrities (unlike me). I only learned about the celebrities after the fact – which may be a good thing, or all my marathon energy would have gone on hunting down anyone remotely famous.

IMG_6943

The first mile took us out of Greenwich, and before it was up I had the first of many ‘moments’. We ran past an old stone church that had pink blossom growing in it’s yard, and I had the ‘a-ha!’ moment that I was actually running the London marathon! We had started, it had begun!

 

It was really hard to keep to my pace, and the first three miles were a minute faster than I wanted. At the time it felt fine, but I wondered if it would come back and bite me in the ass (spoiler alert: I think it did!). But the excitement and the pace and the crowds make you feel like you’re flying, and my ideal pace of 10:20 minute miles felt very slow in such an atmosphere.

Horseguard's Parade at the finish line

Horseguard’s Parade at the finish line

Miles 1-6 were very smooth, and at mile 7 I had a fabulous surprise: SB, Baby B, my brother-and-sister in law were there to cheer me on, complete with banner. In my excitement I screamed, and made Baby B cry. A lot. So…. great parenting there, scaring your child and running away.

Mile 7 cheers

Ah mile 7 … when all was bright still!

The best bit for me was running over Tower Bridge. I was trudging through some nameless street, and all of a sudden we turned a corner and there it was, in all its bridgy glory. The sun chose to come out then to, a d I had the second moment of the marathon. Running over the bridge I was comparing the two marathons I have done: Edinburgh was fast and powerful, but lonely, and this one was slower but with my family there to cheer me on, along with what felt like the rest of London! It was gorgeous.

IMG_6969

IMG_6970

My legs started to hurt at mile 12. Initially it was my right IT band, then it was my left, then it was my knee, then it was my adductors, and finally by the end my right IT band was very tight and sore. Most of the second half was spent trying to focus and keep my pace up, and ignoring the pain. It was a blur to be honest. I felt reasonably comfortable, but it was an effort to try and keep the pace right. I had the 4:30 pacer in my sights for 8 miles, which was encouraging, but then at mile 22 the wheels began to fall off.

 

Even though I had less than an hour to go, I decided to go to the loo which slowed me down for 3 minutes. Then, instead of being able to run more freely, I got the biggest stitch. The kind that won’t go away when you push it, and that makes you grunt like a pig. So I had to walk. And so I lost the 4:30 pacer.

IMG_6973

Then followed a really frustrating two miles of walking and running. At this point we were in central London, and the crowds were overwhelming in their support. They were all shouting ‘go on Ellie! Not much further, you’re doing so well!’ and while it was awesome, it was hard to focus. My lovely family were there at 23 miles again, and this time I was much quieter for Baby B.

 

I felt like a zombie for the last three miles, my feet felt heavy and all I could do was focus on the path ahead. And take photos thanks to the slow pace! I felt it was a shame that the most picturesque part of the route was at the very end when you’re just trying to get through, but there is nothing like running past the Thames, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace before turning down the Mall filled with Union Jacks to finish. Although I couldn’t enjoy it at the time, the memories are there and they are amazing.

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace – I’m sure Queenie was cheering me on

I finished in 4:40, and my stubborn side is gutted that I didn’t make 4:30. But there’s another side which is just proud that I’ve finished it, even if it is 53 minutes slower than my last. I spent most of this race trying to ward off the pain, trying to keep up the pace, and telling myself that this is the last time I’ll run a marathon. Then I woke up on Monday and thought ‘yeah…. but I’ll do another one’.

 

I think I could have finished in 4:30 if I hadn’t started out so quickly, and if I hadn’t munched on mini Cheddars on my way round. Without the luxury of a few long runs in training, I hadn’t worked out a proper game plan. I’m annoyed that I had to use the loo, and hat I had to stop for a stitch, because I’ve never had to do that before. But the point of this event was to complete it, not to get any sort of time goal, so I need to remind myself of this!

IMG_6975

Gaaaah! Just before Buckingham Palace, not long to go!

I can’t believe I’ve actually done another marathon. This time the effort was different, my body wasn’t used to the distance but because of the slower pace, and because I’ve run Edinburgh, I knew I could at least do it. Edinburgh was scary as I’d not done one before, and I had an ambitious time goal. This one was scary because I felt very light on training, and because it’s not long after Baby B arrived. But it was worth all the anxiety, the cold weather running and the obsessing about postpartum training. I would love to run it again.

 

Ellie B

London: Final Training

T minus 11 days til I’m lurking around the starting pens in Greenwich, trying to eat a banana and convince myself that I don’t need to pee again. Yesterday was my last long run before the event, so I am officially on The Taper!!!

 

Two weeks ago I managed my first proper long run, which was 17 miles. I set out at my ideal marathon pace, and my head was in the right space. Except …. not much else was. I was using a different energy shot because I couldn’t find my usual gels, and despite trying to eat properly before hand, I started to get hungry at around mile 7.

IMG_6536

During the run itself I felt ok, except I was hungry! But afterwards, I crashed. I felt so ill, and had no energy. I drank my chocolate milk, but waited far too long before eating so that by the end of the evening I was feeling sorry for myself on the couch and nibbling on biscuits.

 

Cue 12 days of feeling nervous, apprehensive and scared! Did I even want to run a marathon? Why didn’t I opt to spend the time with Baby B instead of running? How are we even going to get to London on the train, with all my gear and everything the bubba needs? What the hell was I thinking?

IMG_6534

And yet. And yet, there’s always a little voice in my head that says ‘yeah, but you wait til you’re on the starting line. You wait till you’re pushing through mile 18, you wait til you’re running down the mall and you wait til you’re holding Baby B after having run the London marathon’. The experience itself will be amazing, and the training will be harder than the event.

 

Yesterday I did 20 miles in 3.5 hours. This time I had my usual gels, and I also had some additional food for during the run. My head was in the right space too: keep it cool, and take it steady. Mentally I approached it like four 5-mile runs, which was a lot better (but not at 13.1 when I realised I was only half way through!). As soon as I finished I was eating, and continued to eat and drink in small amounts until I went to sleep.

IMG_6818

So here I find myself in the shortest taper ever, wondering how to approach it. I’ve followed a plan, but only roughly because flexibility is the name of the game when training with a baby. I think I’ll have two days off, and then start gentle gym sessions until the big day. And by gentle, I mean with lots of jacuzzi time factored in.

 

The countdown is on. And I feel…. good scared terrified ecstatic realistic. And also excited.

 

Stockholm, Stitches, and Stuff to live by

Hello from Stockholm! I am here for work for two days. I haven’t been before, and I tried to see as much as I possibly could during my lunch time. It wasn’t that much, considering I was tottering around in my high heels like Bambi. Basically, what I have picked up on is that it is a very beautiful city with lots of water, lovely buildings and expensive shops.

photo (24)

 

It’s been a while since a weekly training summary, so here is how last week went (we’ll count the weekend of week 9 too cos it’s impressive):

  • Saturday: 18 mile run in 2:35. Was shocked at the difference between 16-18 miles, and am now quite intimidated about the whole 26.2!!!
  • Sunday: Pole session with Bendy Kate. Handstands and flips
  • Monday: 7.4K with Tempest Runners. Ended up being a bit of an interval session as I ran between two groups of varying speeds.
  • Tuesday: 7 miles of 1 mile jog, 3x 1.5 mile fast, with 400m recoveries, 1 mile cool down in 59:12
  • Wednesday: Rest day
  • Thursday: 1 mile jog, then 3 miles brisk (23 mins), 1 mile cool down. Taught two hours of pole in the evening

 

I felt a pretty strong twinge in my left leg after Thursday – I guess that’s what happens when you run the longest you’ve ever run and then not let yourself recover properly. Superman I am not (thank goodness – there’s no way I could make that lycra work for me). So I have taken 5 days off running. Wise? Yes. Though wise would have been not to get into this situation. I am worried because we’re on holiday on Friday, and I don’t know when I’ll squeeze in my 20 mile run whilst seeing ma famille in Chicago.  We’ll see……

 

One of my friends suffers from stitches every time she runs. She says it feels like she can’t breathe, and the stitch is right behind her ribs where she can’t easily press in on it. After doing some reading, it turns out there are literally a million things you can do for a stitch. So… there you go, good luck!!

 

Haha, not really. A stitch is when your abdomen reacts to jostling around so much, making it spasm. Think of it like any other muscle cramp: it needs to be stretched. There are lots of treatments for a stitch, but here are some of the most common ways that I found:

  • Concentrate on breathing deeply, and push the air out of your abdomen
  • Take a deep breath, hold it for 10 seconds, then exhale with force
  • If you find that one foot is always hitting the ground as you breathe out, try to make sure you vary it. Breathe in for the count of 1-2, and breathe out for the count of 1-2-3 to make sure you’re exhaling on each foot, not just one
  • If you carry a water bottle, try changing hands throughout your run
  • Press up into the stitch with your fingers and breathe deeply (my personal favourite)
  • Don’t eat an hour before you run
  • Slow down, or stop, and work on some of the above whilst you recover

 

You should find that your stitches decrease as your fitness increases. :)

 

Last week, SB and I spoiled ourselves: having Mum to visit was the perfect excuse. Our week was full of food like this:

This was to share. I could have smashed it myself.

This was to share. I could have smashed it myself.

 

This has never been more true:

 

My philosophy. I am lucky that running is so awesome.

My philosophy. I am lucky that running is so awesome.

Ellie B

 

 

 

Advice Welcome!! Running Smart Running Strong????

This whole training thing can mess with your head. In typical Type A-personality style, I have been diligently following the plan to a T, and obsessing about every minor detail. My week started reasonably well:

  • Monday: recovery 2.2miles recovery run with my beginners running group
  • Tuesday: 5.5 miles with 5*400m repeats with 200m recoveries
  • Wednesday: 6 miles hill run around Durham

 

By Wednesday my legs were pretty tired, and my left shin was twinging. So, of course, my immediate thoughts were ‘oh god, they’re shin splints, I’m going to be off my legs for ages, where’s the ice, I NEED ICE GODDAMMIT!!’

 

On Thursday I taught a pole class, which included some lovely stretches, and on Friday I had a sports massage. As well as pummeling my legs til they felt like bruised bananas, the physio reassured me that the twinge was muscular rather than on the bone. So…. I may have overreacted.

 

This is where my head is struggling: what is normal fatigue for this amount of exercise, and what’s a warning of oncoming injury? When can I push through, and when should I pull back?

 

No Pain No Gain

 

I’ve written before about the mental aspects of running. I think all runners must be people who like to be in control to some extent: we set a goal, and then push ourselves to reach it. If you’re not in control of the situation – or of your own abilities to push through at least – then it will be tougher to overcome challenges and obstacles as you face them.  I read somewhere that how you train is how you will race: if you don’t go for that sprint finish on a Saturday, you won’t on race day. If you give in to temptation and stop during the run, you’ll be tempted on race day.

 

Back to my hypochondria injury caution. I don’t want training to suffer, but I don’t want to push through and injure myself. And I don’t want to fall behind in what I should be able to do by being too cautious. I mean, I’ve already missed my chance of being a Hollywood star from being too cautious to move to L.A. and be discovered. It would be awful if I didn’t learn from my mistakes (every Oscars weekend brings with it contemplation of the life I should have led… that Jennifer Lawrence now has).

 

Oscar

Enjoy it J-Law. It could have been mine.

So – as per the physio’s recommendation, I’ve taken 3 days off to let my banana legs get back to normal. And now  it’s time to make some lifestyle changes: less fast food, more sleep, less wine, more stretches, less obsessing, more monitoring on a normal level. From there, I’ll see how each day goes and … generally try not to freak out.

 

For anyone who’s reading this who have already run the Great 26.2 – I know this isn’t exactly groundbreaking stuff. But when it’s the first time, you’re aware of everything.  With every event you want to give yourself the best chance, but I don’t know how to train for this! There’s a fine balance there somewhere, and I’m trying to find it.

 

Does it sound like my approach would work? Are there any other tips?

 

I saw this in Runner’s World today and it 100% captured the whimsy I love about running (except when you’re on a strict training schedule). Where have you run today?

photo-101

Ellie B

 

P.S. SB and I just finished Captain Phillips. It’s amazing!! It was so tense that I barely took a breath throughout the whole thing.