A round-up: what taking a break from long-distance running has meant, and my top 10 races to do.

Cannot believe it’s the end of the year already, and that I haven’t managed to post since August?! I cannot apologise enough, but whilst this blog is all about running, the blatant truth is that I have not consistently been running for the past 3 months. I have not entered a marathon this year (haha, a bit late to be doing one in December, if there are any to run…?), nor have I considered entering one for next year. London 2012 is still fresh in my mind as one of the hardest things I’ve had to ever physically push myself to do, and still blares up as a warning that each marathon is as different from the previous one due to a host of various factors – some of which you have no control over – which vastly affect the experience.

I decided to take a break from marathoning.

I have yet to decide if I will return, or if I will try something else for a time in the meantime. As a result I’ve thrown my lot in for a half marathon in March as my first real race of the year to see how I get on again with longer distances. I love half marathons as well as trail terrain so I’m hoping everything goes well on the day and I finish with a spring in my new trainers!

Marathons still bring up a mixed bag of emotions for me, most days I think that I would like to do another (but not without SuperSarah as I highly doubt I could train on my own) but some days when it’s truly horrible outside I find myself feeling pretty thankful that yes, I have the luxury to choose to be holed up inside my gym or at home with dinner on and a cheeky little glass of red wine instead of miserably slogging through the frost/darkness to clock up the necessary mileage for the week and worrying about the state of my feet. I am still straddling the fence I guess.

Thus, I have hope for the half marathons to bring me back into the swing of things again.

I wanted to recap as well the races that I have done (all distances) and found to be most personally enjoyable* as I have only just realised I did not do that last year and this sad mistake clearly needs to be remedied.

Without further ado, then (these are off the top of my head, by the way):

  1. South Downs marathon (relay) – I have done two stages of this race now (2010 and 2012) and will definitely be going back for the half in future.
  2. Trail Marathon Wales (again, I only did the half marathon), but this trail route has tempted me into thinking about coming back for the full marathon….(possibly)
  3. Cambridge Half marathon – a fast flat route that even though it was a lap route (which I loathe) it was beautiful and the medal afterward made the pain in my legs worthwhile…not shallow am I 😉 ?
  4. Gade Valley Harriers London marathon training runs – I did their 17 miler back in 2011 and it was glorious, hilly, freezing, muddy, but the reward of the softest fresh cakes and hot tea after never tasted so good! Cheap entry too, and whilst you don’t get a medal as it’s a training run – the beautiful surroundings and general cheer of the runners themselves very possibly made me have runners high from that race.
  5. Brighton marathon – my first experience of running the marathon was still an awesome, awesome experience. I ran through quite a range of emotions (as one does) and didn’t hit the wall, I got stupidly happy at mile 21 much to SuperSarah’s disgust.
  6. Any Nike 10k race – Nike do put on a well-organised race, their technical tees are decent and make up for (to me) any lack of a medal.
  7. Wholefoods Breakfast run (8/16miler) –  Early start which means you get it out of the way, and a lovely fast flat route. Crowding/bottlenecking non-existent and you get to run past Hampton Court Palace. No medal, but a gloating mug to proclaim your dedication to your running.
  8. London Duathlon –  Highly enjoyed the run-bike-run aspect of this race. You can choose what distance/how much you wish to punish yourself as well, or elect to do various stages in teams. Whilst my legs felt like leaden pillars on the final run I loved running past the deer and observing the chaos of cyclists lapping you on the road on some rather beautiful bikes. It’s well organised and the bottlenecking was well-managed.
  9. SheRuns Windsor 10k – Small field, gorgeous scenery, just watch out for the hills, they are numerous and the women take them fast. Decent medal, decent entertainments for bored supporters/families waiting for you at the finish, and decent goody bags.
  10. Bath Half marathon – Again this is a lap route, but I have great memories of this race as it was the first half I ever really ran on my own and made my first PB. Rolling terrain, a few cobbles, but decent medal as well and good crowd control. It finishes on an incline, so don’t make the mistake I made in speeding up too fast in the final mile and almost being sick over the finish line.

*Note: the term ‘personally enjoyable’ does not necessarily mean the route was easy or flat – most of the best races I have run have hurt….perhaps that’s why I remember them so strongly?!

And that’s it! Has anyone got a particular favourite that stands out for them? I can’t possibly choose one, all have been great!

What does 2014 have in store for you? Will you be trying anything new?

I wish you a lovely New Year, however you are spending it.

Best,

Run xxx

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A very belated Race Review: The National Lottery Anniversary Run

Post-race swag

Post-race swag

Apologies for the silence!

I’ll get right down to it then, no shilly-shallying about!

What was it? A glorious 5 mile race around the Olympic Park that finished with a lap of the athletics track in the stadium itself whilst your family/friends wildly supported your entrance. We were supposed to be the first people back to the stadium after the fantastic Olympics too.

Positives: My BEST moment was running through the tunnel which lead onto the track to the sound of Chariots of Fire. I even did a bit of slow-motion striding with Becca to enjoy it all that bit more! Actually felt a bit sick doing the final lap of the athletics track pretending that I was a victorious athlete I was that excited. Goosebumps, the works. Best ending to a race EVER! Even now almost 2 weeks on I still get a silly grin on my face remembering the whole experience. Decent medal afterwards in ye good old patriotic colours. Best start to a race ever actually too now that I think of it, for I had none other than Sir Chris Hoy waving me off, to which I waved madly back from my point in the mass of runners, grinned and blew him a kiss. I remain convinced that he saw me and will be calling me any day now.

Negatives: It was SO bottlenecked, there was no way one could get a PB unless you’d put yourself in the front with the elites, so I settled for a cruise-along sensible pace with Becca who was running with a niggle which we had fun discussing and comparing at length on the route round (not that it’s enjoyable having any sort of niggle, sorry Becca!). It was also very hot, and there was one water station at just before 2 miles (I think) and nothing else. Which is fine for 5 miles, but if you’re not a regular runner and unused to running in heat it wasn’t so great. Goody-bag collection at the end was a bit crazy and un-organised as well. It was sweltering and I just wanted to get out and away from the mass of sweaty people, but had to wait for ages as they ran out of bags at my end. Collecting from the bag drop for my colour was craaaazy-long as well. I resigned myself to a long wait, which I was surprised at since it was the Olympic Park….additionally, I have it good authority that the state of the public toilets (there were no portaloos) were on a level with a festival toilet 😐 You can imagine how pleased I was to have gone for my pre-race wee in one of the Westfield toilets instead beforehand!

Overall: I am pleased I managed to score a place for this race. It was a brilliant opportunity, and whilst the rest of the route was quite boring with some uninspiring views and the remnants of a festival being cleared away and building works going on, I had a chilled out run taking it all in and enjoying a wonderful start and the kind of finish that made me half-suspect I had runner’s high/extreme nerves. I came in at a very comfortable 57 minutes, but I wasn’t looking for anything like a PB.

The goosebumpy finish!

The goosebumpy finish!

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She Runs Windsor 10k (very belated!) Race Review

On Bank holiday Monday (6th May) I turned up with Super Sarah to Windsor amid stunning weather to a clearly sign-posted race car park for the She Runs Windsor 10k. It was 9 am, and everyone (ourselves included) had to pick up our race packs before the start of the race at 10.30 am.

My race pack bag and race number.

My race pack bag and race number.

Positives: Stunning route. I haven’t run such a pretty race since the South Downs last year, and the rolling countryside and wide open spaces were just lovely to run (and sweat profusely) through. Great run down to the finish line as well, but it was so far off in the distance it felt like you ran and ran and it just wasn’t getting any closer! I crossed the finish line with 2 other ladies who roped me into a post-race photo with them which was very sweet.  I did a 1.06.20 time for it, which I was pretty happy with considering the hills involved when I thought it was going to be a flat race apart from one little hill! Especially as it was a 10k I yet again did not train for, and had only been managing to gasp through a few 5ks two weeks before (my local park run I was usually slogging through at the 30-31minute mark). I thought I managed pretty well running this race in old shoes as my new ones hadn’t arrived in the post yet either. A decent medal (sparkly!) and goodie bag was nice at the end, the race toilets were numerous and efficient, and there was a live band and plenty of stands which were family-friendly, so you could leave the hubby/partner and kids to amuse themselves for a bit whilst you go off to hurt yourself.

Negatives: It was SO hot. We were there at 9am, and all that waiting around for the race to actually start ended up annoying me a bit. It was lovely temps at 9am, but by 10.30 we were sitting at about 20 degrees in bright sunshine which as we all know feels more like 30 degrees once you start running. My left knee started talking at the 7k mark and just general tiredness surged through my legs-I hate the 7k mark in 10k races as that’s always my no-man’s land or ‘biting point’ as I call it. It’s my mark of how I’m feeling-whether I can push to the end because I’m feeling fresh, or whether the next 3k are really going to hurt me. Super Sarah pulled ahead of me by a few minutes with the 65 minute pacer on one of the hills after sticking with me for 5k as she was feeling fine and I didn’t want to hold her back, and we had previously agreed that was our plan for the race. Stick together for the first 5k, then see how we feel. So I put my head down, gritted my teeth and focused on sweating my way to the finish. Getting out of the car park afterwards was rubbish, with everyone queuing and not being able to move, and the car park marshals had vanished to goodness knows where. Not a lot of support along the route, and the race group wasn’t terribly big-I did not see any walkers doing this race, the women who turned up all looked pretty fit and lean! So I would not advise it as a starting race for the newbies. There is nothing wrong with running with a friend though-but you WILL need to run. The pacers only went up to 70 minutes, and the hills were nothing to sneeze at, just to give you an idea! One last thing- the race tops were TINY and really short in the body, I had opted for a medium fit but after trying it on (there was no place to change so I just exchanged tops out in the open in my sports bra) I could see that it was way too tight and would ride up within 2 seconds of me running. I went back to the  info tent to try and exchange for a large size, but was told they didn’t go larger!? I could see some size 14+ women going up to ask for a larger size as well and getting turned away. One woman held up the top and laughingly (that’s all you could do really!) just about fitted the whole top across her breasts, before shaking her head and putting it away in her race bag. It was not a great experience-like when you go into a boutique store and the assistant condescends to tell you they only go up to a ‘certain size’- really off-putting.

The race start-we were right near the back, as you can see! Beautiful start line though.

The race start-we were right near the back, as you can see! Beautiful start line though.

So, a bit of a mixed bag with this one. I enjoyed myself because the women runners were all quite relaxed and friendly, the goodie bags were good (some macadamia and white chocolate bar/milk chocolate and hazelnut bar…or both! to choose from), bananas and crisps, cocovita (which I loathe) and water were supplied at the finish, and the family-friendly atmosphere the race did well to achieve. There are a few points for them to improve upon for next year- an earlier start time, more of a range of top sizes, and more marshals to direct the emptying of the car park post-race would be a big improvement, and would put this race in my top 10 10k’s.

My sparkly medal!

My sparkly medal!

If you want to try a more challenging route-give this a go. The start and finish were not crowded by any means, and were well-managed. The route was spacious and you didn’t feel like you had to zigzag around people all the time if you were trying to overtake. I can definitely say that there were also a fair few downhill bits, which I was thankful for and made the most of to notch up some speed! It was not a ‘fun’ race, no-one was in fancy dress or wrote on their tops, so it had a more serious feel I thought. Still, highly enjoyable route past the cow’s and fields and gorgeous weather!

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Race Review: Nike We Own The Night 10k Run/Walk

So, Nike outdid themselves with this race overall.

Positives: Prosecco upon finishing-which they weren’t stingy about topping up your glass for you!, as well as numerous glowsticks, two pretty bracelets, DJ’s and live music, gorgeous light installations along the route, quiet route in Victoria Park, festival atmosphere with the teepee tents and bean bags strewn everywhere in the event village, the finish and start line (some sort of glowing huge arch with streaking lights on/in it proclaiming that ‘you owned it’-who DOESN’T want to finish a race seeing that?), pacers running with their own portable speakers playing brilliant tunes (Daft Punk, anyone?) and displaying the most happy moods I’ve been subject to in a while. Also, the weather was so good! Brilliant temps to run in, a cool 13-14 degrees. Even the race shirts were luminously orange but with pinks and purples and a sparkly ‘we own the night’ on the back in small writing so could be used as a future training top with no-one the wiser. We also had glowing wristbands that pulsed with coloured lights along the route according to what your goal was-a PB, leading ‘from the front’, or just to get round, a visually beautiful addition I thought.

Negatives: Their bag drop and claiming was a nightmare-it took flipping ages since no-one had race numbers so everyone went willy-nilly and clogged up the counters waiting for their bags to be handed over. That’s really about it for me!

Race was ÂŁ28 and although I managed to get a place for free, everything was pretty painless and I felt a bit sad recognising most of the Nike Run Club staff either pacing or marshalling along the route! Highly recommend this race to all women out there-runners and walkers alike. Nike is a huge company and they didn’t disappoint with this race. Get there early to experience the event village and soak up the atmosphere from a comfortable beanbag.

A race well run.

A race well run.

I had a pretty slow run, coming in at 1.22.40 as I was running it with a friend who hadn’t trained, so we kept things to a walk-run timetable and managed really well overall. I smashed out a 5k in the morning of the race so was happier myself for the slower pace we did in the evening-my legs were still feeling heavy from my Thursday run club intervals! I finished feeling like I had miles left in my tank but today there has been slight stiffness so I am going to foam roll out quite thoroughly tonight.

If you can, do check out this race for next year. There was no medal or goody bag as such, but I was pretty happy with my luminous pink bracelet from Nike and my free Prosecco! It’s a great race for those who are afraid of taking on the more serious club running scene but who want to take on a more challenging race along a fast flat route-definite PB potential here!

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Post-marathon tips

Immediately after finishing:

1. Put on medal. Smile like a maniac and enjoy the emotion/floods of feel-good hormones for the obligatory post-race picture.

2. Put something very carby in your mouth. A specially formulated recovery drink (e.g. For Goodness Shakes) or a cereal bar (e.g Nature Valley) is great to start the healing on the inside and replace lost calories.

3. Start re-hydrating  With WATER, leave the sports drinks, isotonic things, and celebratory beers for just a little longer if you can.

4. If not going off immediately to celebrate, see that you can either get yourself in for a very gentle massage/ice bath* to help those poor muscles in your legs catch a break. Try not to sit down, you’ll stiffen up faster than jelly takes to set, and like Barney in HIMYM, you may not be able to stand up again from your seat unless you have very understanding friends on hand to help you up, though they may laugh and point before doing so and call you crazy.

5. If you ARE having a drink, try to stick to something very light, and limit yourself. You’ll be dehydrated as it is and more alcohol will hurt you further as it also dehydrates you. Try having a large pint of water between drinks, or switch to it once you’ve had your few drinks. No-one wants to wake up with a hangover AND a body that screams in protest every time you try to move.

The Day After (12-24 hours post-race):

1. Recovery is still paramount, continue re-hydrating and and putting high-quality un-processed food into your body.

2. If you did not sleep in your medal, put it on, and carry on feeling chuffed about the good bits of your race yesterday. Remember the bad bits too, but you can learn from them later.

3. Try for a gentle walk up to your local gym and go sit in the jacuzzi. With your medal. So that everyone can understand why you may be walking like an octogenarian and are taking 10 minutes to execute the squat move needed when one is sitting down.

The week after (48 hours plus):

1. Some gentle stretching is good, but don’t push it until you get that shaky thing going on. Even if you can only reach your knees when trying to touch the floor, don’t worry about it and stay there to feel your stretch. Your body is working like a maniac to try and recover the damage you’ve done by asking it to run for you for so long.

2. Gentle, short walks are acceptable. If you’re an experienced marathoner, a gentle jog is alright too, but keep it short-no more than 20 minutes max. Go to gym only if you are stretching or foam rolling. No classes unless you’re doing a stretch class (tell the instructor what you’ve done so they know not to come and push you further than your limits-they’re fragile right now! If an instructor does try to come and push on you then tell them quite politely to b*gger off, they should know better).

3. More celebrating. You can reflect on what you’ve achieved, and start thinking about what you want to focus on doing next. Set out some goals, keep the commitment rolling in whatever form you find acceptable.

4. If you can reach your feet by now (you should be able to), start giving them some TLC, foot massage, pedicure, lots of cream. Get the runner’s feet sorted, they’ve served their purpose. Or keep your calluses and rough skin like badges of honour. Up to you!

*ice baths are only efficient as close as you can have them after finishing your race, as they will help minimise any swelling and bring your overall temperature down, which has a calming effect on your stressed-out body. Don’t try to have one the day after your race-you’ll only be putting yourself through something unpleasant and your body won’t benefit, rather you need to focus on staying warm, so this time along with the gentle massage you can get the Voltaren/arnica stuff on (only if you feel you need it).

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Volunteering for Brighton & London Marathon 2013

b'ton gatorage mile 5This is the mile 5 stand at Brighton I was assigned to, arriving at 5.23am (caught the 4am train from a very sleepy London Victoria station!) and starting at 06.30am. The Kenyans ghosted past what felt like 20 minutes (apparently it was actually 24 minutes!!) after the opening parade of Harley Davidson bikes. Cue the masses following on shortly after  and it going mad, could barely look up the Gatorade was disappearing so fast! Luckily the sun came out at around 9.45am, so from then on the runners trickled through and I took in several rhinos, a donkey, the usual crazy army guy with a backpack filled with bricks or something equally horrifying, and 4 firemen in full suits carrying a firemen’s ladder between them! We all got our trainers soaked in blackcurrant flavour Gatorade though, but at least we smelled sweet? I stood down at 11.30, exhausted and tired, then met up with friends to laze on the beach (and promptly burn my face). It’s weird seeing a marathon you’ve run from the other side, I was a little emotional because I knew full well the pain and emotions you go through, and could sympathise so much with the runners. I was also aware of being careful about what I said to people in terms of encouragement, so settled for repeating ‘Keep going!’ and ‘Well done keep going!’ which I thought was less patronising compared to some phrases I’ve heard before (‘not long to go now!’ @ mile 12 of London 2012, for example). On a far more sobering note though, I later learned that a 23 year old man had collapsed at mile 16, and died being taken to hospital. Apparently they were performing CPR right on the side of the road. It made me realise again how blasé I’d become with the idea of running a marathon, and how we can all think we’re superwoman/man, but that you never know what can happen on the day if your body has enough.

This weekend I am marshalling London, which is very last-minute, but my local park run put out a call for volunteers on Facebook, and I thought: why not? I’ve done it once, this time I can give back to both marathons I have run. Going to be a much longer day on this one, and security has increased with regard to the horrible and saddening events at Boston marathon (I watched the news with my heart in my mouth). I can’t wait to do my run on Monday evening in support for the #BostonStrongLondon with PTMollie and DiaryofaDashionista, we’re running in yellow and blue to show our solidarity with the brave runners who had their lives irrevocably changed and impacted. London will be emotional, I don’t doubt that for a second, as this time I’ll be at mile 13/14, and again at mile 21 where the course doubles back on itself. I’m getting my cheering face on for all those that hit the wall.

I guess the main point of this post is that I’m thankful I’m a runner, that I’m a part of this huge awesome community that doesn’t judge you or hold you to some impossible standard, and that bands together so brilliantly to support others whenever they are needed. It puts me in mind of a colony of ants, that join together to overcome huge obstacles like crossing a large body of water, or getting across giant gaps.

antshelp

I hope whatever marathon you are doing this season, you are prepared for it and you know that you have support coming in from all sides for the brilliant thing you are doing. You are amazing.

Be proud, run strong!

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‘Snapping hips’ and yoga

Wow, its February already? Where have I been?

Apologies for not updating as regularly as I could have been, but some things happened in my life which I had to deal with, so my first concern was taking care of me (on the emotional level at least) before I blew up into other areas.

With regards to the fitness side of things, there are no other excuses to deploy, but since my detox I have been slack with the exercise. Apart from attending the odd yoga class and going on the odd run….I’ve done the odd circuit and such….but nothing consistent at all. Its just ‘the odd bit here and there’.

Ugh.

OK, so I’ve been a bit ‘drifty’ with my training, which hacks me off. Time to pull up the socks. “Enough is enough!”, my fitness freak within roars.

I went back to Flamenco between Christmas and New Year, and absolutely LOVED my course. Even though the Spanish was at a pace completely out of my league, the teacher (Rafaella Carrasco– Internationally recognised flamenco star) made stuff super-clear, and we ended up performing a rather spirited seguiriyas. I was so happy when I was dancing I felt like my soul was just soothed and calm. I only ever get that feeling sometimes from a particularly good yoga class. Here is a picture of my shoes and skirt, for good measure (and because I’m proud that I wasn’t so rusty as to be beyond all redemption, especially diving straight back into intermediate choreography after more than a year off!):

image

The ‘snapping hips’ thing is another recent thing I discovered, I’d felt the familiar tightness in my TFL so I booked in for some acupuncture with my physio and asked him to check how my knees were with regards to my tracking issues. Pffft, screw acupuncture, the sadist thought there was no time like the present to stick his thumbs relentlessly into my hip flexors and loosen them off by making me bend and straighten my leg about a zillion times whilst I half laughed half gasped from the pain. It’s a ticklish place! He then felt out my knee again and voila, like magic, I couldn’t feel the jutting kneecap anymore-hooray! I did a few squats for him and he heard my right hip going ‘clonk……clonk….’ every time I squatted. I thought this was a normal thing since I had it develop as I got into my later years doing ballet but he deemed it to be ‘snapping hip syndrome’. Thinking he was spouting some form of rubbish I scoffed internally….and then Googled it and apparently it IS a thing. Everything has a name these days! It’s nothing that interferes with me in my day-to-day activities, but I do know that I’ve had weakness in my hip flexors for as long as I can remember. I never could quite get my leg extended in front of me very high like some of the other girls could. I still can’t. Bah! The more you get to know your own body, the weaker you realise it is. It’s a wonder sometimes how we manage to cope with all our activities. So some sort of hip flexor strengthening needs to be added to help toughen up my octogenarian core. Hilarious.

I’m sorry this is a bit of a moaning post, but I wanted to have a moment of misery for all the hard effort we put into our fitness only to be mediocre at best at some things which other people appear to take pity on you for even trying (take flexibility in a yoga class, for example). Can you tell I’ve been seriously lacking in motivation?

OK, moment over.

The last thing I have to say is Yoga. On YouTube! Can’t afford the gym? Simply load up a video and get going on your mat at home. I’ve found this amazingly strong girl called Kino MacGregor who teaches an Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga….but explains it all really simply for my mind to click with. I LOVE her teaching and daily practice. No excuses, there’s yoga for as little as 20 minutes, so even if it means getting up a little earlier you can set yourself up for a beautiful, positive day. If you do nothing else this month, try her out. I cannot recommend it strongly enough!

On a completely unrelated question though….especially for those of you out there who are HUGE sugar-lovers, did you ever manage to cut sugar out? And how did you feel about it? I’ve been successful with working gluten out for the last month, and I don’t miss it. Yes I’ve had the odd catastrophic slip-up (late night Burger King, anyone?) but I always feel awful and super-bloated afterwards which just strengthens me to resist temptation next time!

But seriously, the sugar question remains. Any experiences/tips/suggestions would be most welcome 🙂

Light and love to you xxxx

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On the January detox bandwagon

Happy New Year to you all, I hope you had a blessed and relaxed holiday with family and friends.

January has happened upon us very quickly, and like everyone else out there I have succumbed to the detoxing hype. I’m currently on day 2 of a 7 day detox plan, from a pretty cool little book I’ve mentioned before called ‘Target Your Fat Spots’ by Max Tomlinson. I cannot seem to do juice fasts without turning into a feral, angry female. So I chose 7 days of super-cleansing foods to make my system feel a little bit more jazzed up and toxin-free.The diet has advised to keep the portions small and not to exercise heavily on it because of the low calories, but I’ve decided I’m not going to deny myself if I want to have that extra portion of veggies in the evening. He advises you to have days 4 and 5 occur over the weekend, as apparently that’s when the ‘real’ detoxing begins. Was pretty proud of myself though for going out last-minute last night for dinner with a bunch of girlfriends and having my side order of ‘seasonal vegetables’ (which turned out to be broccoli and some dodgy-tasting baby carrots which I couldn’t finish) whilst everyone around me had the juiciest burgers and fajitas. A little frantic texting help from Diary of a Dashionista helped immensely!  

I thought I would not have headaches on this plan but late last night a pounding one started and I felt absolutely wiped out. I have woken up this morning to a continuation of the pounding headache, which I am a bit surprised at as I thought my coffee addiction wasn’t an addiction at all….and I still feel pretty wiped out today. My skull feels like it’s being pulverised by a rather loving bear.

My second theory is that I am therefore having some sort of sugar-withdrawal. I LOVE sugary stuff, I’ve always had a massive sweet-tooth, and today I am thinking about cake every 3 seconds. I’m going to sip at my green tea and look at models before I go for a walk this afternoon to stay strong. It’s only a week!

There seems to be a lot of controversy out there about detoxing, especially around the Master Cleanse detox diet that BeyoncĂ© did to shed a ton of weight that frankly I thought she didn’t need to lose. Detoxes can be dangerous and bad for you in the long-term if they are prolonged and cut out essential foods, or foods full stop. So before you embark on anything I would hope you research first, and pick something that is going to be sustainable for you. I always email my clients at least 3 options to choose from before we embark on a diet plan. It’s got to be something manageable, for obvious reasons.

Right, enough lecturing. I may take myself off for a little nap before I go out for a walk…

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Early warning signs

So, much earlier this year I was told by my physio that I had the early stages of crepitus, which is the beginning of deterioration of the cartilage tissue in both of my knees.

I suspect this is due to two main reasons;

1. I have run 2 marathons pretty overweight, and 2…..no, I pretty much think that’s it actually.

At the somewhat tender age of 26, I’m kind of hoping to shed some weight to lighten the load on my poor knees (and hopefully the technology to have them replaced when I’m a bit older will have come on by leaps and bounds!). But it won’t stop the deterioration, just slow it down.

So, I’ve signed up to the Edinburgh half next year May, and am staring down doing Loch Ness marathon in September (haven’t entered that one yet….sort of hoping to convince someone to come along for the ride with me, any takers?). I’ve got the Great Wall of China marathon coming up in 2 years time, and am still thinking of doing the Comrades in South Africa for my 30th. A lot of men in my family have run that race multiple times, but I’m not too sure about the women, and sort of want to test my genes….even though the physio’s I’ve asked have said flat out not to think about doing it at all.

I know people run regularly with problems that are far worse than mine, but it’s the first thing I’ve had stare me boldly in the face. I’ve experienced a lot more cracking in my knees since running London this year, and I ran that race a good 8kg heavier than last year, which is NOT good!

Aw heck….I may as well run until I can only cycle, no? Does anyone else suffer with knee/medical issues that they have to think about then they run?

xxx

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What diet do you train on?

Hello,

Sorry for it being such a long time between posts- life has been a bit limbo-esque and then super-busy recently, and I’ve been trying to recover/stay afloat from the changes in pace! This is a bit of a random post actually, more of an observation if you will, but in terms of relaxing how I run and timing those runs since having a horrendous second marathon, I have also been checking out & researching various diets. Mainly Paleo vs Vegan/fruitarianism. I certainly do not know much and my research has been quite idle when examining veganism – probably because any vegan runners that I have come across in the past seem slightly psychotic/focused on declaring their lifestyle to all and sundry and are scarily thin. That is just my experience of them, so I guess that has definitely been an influencing factor about my reluctance to warrant Veganism as a viable diet option for sustaining massive amounts of training over a long term period. I have not done much research into it, but I would love to sit down and pick the brain of a vegan runner for a bit and see how they make it work for them, and why. Personally for me, I do not think I could give up meat, I am a born and bred South African and we are pretty into our braai’s (barbecue’s for everyone else). I suppose my choice is pretty much made for me!

So I drifted, as you do when researching things on the internet from veganism to fruitarianism. Cue what I came across, two ‘fruitarian’ people all over youtube, with their own book, channel, blogs and website. Perhaps you may have seen them, and I’m reluctant to even give you their youtube names as I’m aware I’m giving them publicity….but I feel that the kind of madness they are prescribing for everyone is plain unhealthy. They are a couple, the guy goes by the name Durianrider, the girl by Freelee (she’s a personal trainer for crying out loud and also has a few other channels under different names) and they go on about this philosophy of having 30 bananas a day and a litre of water when you first wake up (much easier to do if you lived in a hot place like Australia I imagine).

What.

The.

Heck?

The more I watched their videos the more I shook my head in disbelief.  There are some really strange things out there, completely unregulated and quite frankly dangerous.

I guess my main point of all this is….what diet do you guys follow, if anything? Do you only follow something ‘clean’ when you’re training seriously for something? Do you train seriously for anything at all? If you’re training for something different does what you eat change accordingly? And do you feel that what you eat makes a serious impact upon your capacity for training loads?

I’m currently perusing two books, The 4-Hour Body and Target your Fat Spots, the former of which advocates a 6 day clean eating week with a cheat day included, the latter which uses food to influence your hormones and thus your body composition. TYFS wants a 7 day detox before you follow a mediterranean style diet, and I know I’m not going to be able to successfully do a detox this close to Christmas and New Year.

In line with relaxing my attitude towards running, this year I’m allowing myself to indulge as well as I have not yet signed up to any future marathons. I’ve spent the last 2 years marathon training around this time and with that I eschewed alcohol completely. Unfortunately I’m not the kind of runner who can kick back and have a few drinks in the lead up to a race, and still post ridiculously great times with minimal training. If I haven’t trained for it properly, it shows. I can perhaps get away with my ‘usual’ (that is, bang on 1 hour) time if I do a 10k, but noways would I sabotage myself with any race longer than that.

‘Nuff with the questions…..well, maybe one last one, but do you believe there is a ‘holy grail’ of diets out there? I know it’s a highly personal choice and you have to be able to maintain it. Ugh. I need to go and re-start my food journal and training journal…..

 

xxx

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