In terms of running, it has been a tough start to the year, especially after last year’s successes and after ending 2017 on a marathon high, by getting marathon number 50 in the bag.
My mileage for the whole of January was under 100 miles and that included a marathon! February’s miles have been non-existent so far but hopefully, all this will change this weekend.
I have listened to the advice of the Brathay physio team and have rested. I have also done my strengthening exercises religiously. I bought a pack of 5 physio bands for my “monster walking” (all different resistances) and I am proud to say that I am up to band 4 now. Just the tough band to go, but I am easing my way up to that one. My family have been great – reminding me (ie forcing me) to do my exercises each evening. Eva complained that my backside was blocking the tv as I monster walked by her. I heard her giggling and I turned around to find her filming me on her phone. No doubt that video will appear on some social media page in years to come – joy!
Those who don’t run may not understand just how frustrating it is not to be able to run. Surely it’s not a big deal? I have my health, I am happy and everything else is going well, so what do I have to complain about?
For me, running is my escape. It is my opportunity to clear my mind, work through problems, make plans and escape the stresses of the “normal” world, to escape from social media, e-mails, tvs, computers etc. It is simply my time to be me.
I have often found myself “running” randomly – just to see if I can (and also to burn off some of the energy I have built up). I can’t really control it and before you know it I am running for the train (even if I am not late), running for the bus - just little bursts for a minute or two to get a little buzz. I’m sure witnesses to my little running outbursts must think I am completely bonkers but I don’t care!
I did initially panic that my fitness would drop. I have therefore tried not to waste this time. In fact, I created a training plan for February which mainly comprised yoga and using the cross trainer. The beginning of the month didn’t really go as planned but things are working out much better now. I started out by using the cross trainer at home but I have now squeezed in a mini session at the gym on a lunchtime too. I can get to and from the gym and get 35 minutes on the cross trainer done with literally 1 minute to spare. As I have limited time, I make the most of it and work hard. Yes, I return to the office resembling a beetroot and still a tad sweaty but at least I have my own office and only I have to put up with the smell!
I’m not sure what the people at the gym make of this frizzy haired lady bobbing in for 35 minutes, with my phone stuffed down my bra (the pockets in leggings are just simply not big enough) going a bit mental on the cross trainers and then leaving in a hot, sweaty mess shortly after. I have a really strict routine – 20 minutes on the basic trainer and 15 on the lateral trainer. It’s amazing how many people you see cycling, well more like, sat on the bikes just looking at their phones. What’s the point in going to the gym, if you’re not even going to put in any effort?!
After my unexpected meltdown at the Bolton Abbey Marathon, I realised that I needed to work on my mental strength too. I know that the 10in10 will be full on – apart from being out on the course, there will be a lot of people around all the time – the other runners, the support crew etc. There will be very little down time. What I have done is created a 10in10 motivational playlist especially for the event – songs that make me happy, upbeat songs, songs which remind me of my family, ones that we all sing (rather badly) together, songs that make me dance, songs with a good beat so that if I get one of these songs stuck in my head out on the course, it will help keep me going, rather than slow me down! No, slow, emotional ballads for me!
If things get a bit too much for me during the 10in10, I can just pop in my ear phones and escape in to my own little world, even just for 10 minutes, listen to my music, gather my thoughts and just refocus. I have been listening to the playlist when I’m on the cross trainer, so that when I listen to the songs at Brathay, it will take me back to a time when I feel strong, confident and positive.
It has an extremely random mix of songs, from the Foo Fighters, a bit of Black Sabbath, to cheesy 80s pop hits, including Sir Elton John (hence the blog title), to Dizzee Rascal! It’s Raining Men by the Weather Girls has a great beat for the cross trainer and is great to sing along to!
So, I will be making my return to running this weekend. To say that I am a tad nervous is a bit of an understatement. I am starting out with the Parkrun on Saturday – my first in York. I know a fair few runners in York and fear that I will make a fool of myself. I’m either going to start out like a rocket (as I have a lot of energy to burn off and I am very eager to get back running), and then I will burn out and die half way round, or I will find that my legs just don’t work and have forgotten how to run! Either way, it will be an interesting challenge.
This will be followed by the Slaithwaite Half Marathon. Yes, you read that right. I have actually entered a half marathon, not a full. This is the first time I have done this in about 3 years! I picked the half for a couple of reasons – the first one being that I am actually trying to be sensible for once! A rare thing in a runner, I know. The second reason, is that I did the marathon along this route last year and I didn’t enjoy the last 6 – 7 miles. From mile 19, it was mainly uphill for 3 miles towards Marsden and the path is a bit crappy, difficult on your ankles and just really hard work after running 19 miles when you’re starting to tire. The half didn’t take this route last year, so I picked the easier option to ease my way back in to racing. Things haven’t gone to plan – they have changed the route for both the marathon and the half!!! The half now goes on this awful path up to Marsden, but saying that, the marathon is two laps of the half route, so they have to do it twice! I’m hoping that as I’m fresh legged and not running as far, that I don’t struggle too much. We will soon find out!
A photo of my new shoes - no idea why I've included it - I just like them - they match my 10 in 10 kit and make me happy! I can't wait to give them a test run!