About Me

My photo
Wife (to Shaun), Mother (to Danni), Dog walker of Archie the JRX, improving cyclist, reformed gym bunny, broken runner Collector of exercise DVDs & equipment. Cake is my weakness together with cider (Westons only thanks)and brandy. Noisy spectator of running & cycling events. Owner of Tribby the campervan

Monday, 30 December 2013

Review of 2013 & Looking Forward

2013 finishes as it started - with me being injured and unable to run.  Fortunately I am able to do some stuff, like sit on a static gym bike or my road bike on the turbo trainer, unlike January where I only got through the first few days of Janathon and then re-pulled a muscle in my back.  I can also swim, use the X trainer and do practically any exercise that does not activate my calves.

Race wise I started the year with a half marathon

setting a 10k pb in May, and finished in July with an extremely slow (but not quite personal worst) 10k.

And of course, there was the Color Run - the happiest 5k on the planet.  I've not laughed so much in ages - Color Run should be on prescription, a must do for everyone!

I haven't booked anything for 2014 yet - although it does look like I will be taking part in Heroes Run again in May (only 5k this time).   I am registered for Brighton Half but there's no way I'm going to be running that!  Fingers crossed that I can run soon and experience the feelings I had in May.   Cheering, supporting and volunteering at races has fulfilled my need to be around runners - Brighton Marathon, L2B Ultra, RISE 8k, Brooks 10k and Portsmouth Coastal Marathon.  A chance for me to do what I do best - make a lot of noise.   I did try it when I supported Shaun at a cycling sportive this year - cyclists are an ungrateful bunch!

I've been very lucky during 2013 to meet (and run with) some amazing people who I hope I can now call friends - too many to list individually but you will all know who you are.  Thank you for your friendship, love and support this year.

Apparently I'm taking part in the cycling London 2 Brighton in June - that's if I ever get to use my new Dawes road bike on the road.  Don't think training totally on a turbo trainer will prepare me for the undulations of the route south!  Shaun also wants me to take part in sportives with him - although we will have to find a few very short ones!

2013 came with confirmation of mother in laws Alzheimers and my own fight with SAD.  Hopefully the latter will be helped this year by a new lamp bought for me by my parents for Christmas and the advice I picked up at the Winter Blues seminar I attended.   We've also had to cope later in the year with the sudden and unexpected death of a close friend which has prompted us in to making Wills - the packs are here they just need to be filled in!   Something we must do very soon.

2014 is going to be a massive year for us - Shaun and I celebrate our Silver Wedding Anniversary (25 years) on 1st July and Danni reaches the grand old age of 18 in April.   In February she's off on her trip to Lapland with Senior Section.   She's going to have an amazing time and there are lots of activities she's going to be doing, including igloo building and dog sledging.  They're also staying at the Ice Hotel for 1 night.

Unfortunately it seems she's going to be out of range for communication so I'll have to put up with random updates on their Facebook page to find out what they've been up to.

It's also my parents 50th wedding anniversary - looks like 2014 will be party year.

Shaun and I have quite a lot planned too - we're going back to Roubaix to watch the Hell of the North and in May we're off to Belfast to watch the start of the Giro d'Italia.   In July, to celebrate our wedding anniversary, we're off to York to watch the first few stages of the Tour de France.   Hopefully we'll be able to watch the Tour of Britian too.

So here's to 2014 - Janathon starts on 1st January and my first gym session of the year is on Friday.

Happy New Year one and all x

Friday, 27 December 2013

#Run With An idea 8 - My biggest running achievement of 2013 / My biggest running disappointment of 2013

This week's discussion topic is a review of 2013 - highs and lows!

So my biggest running achievement has to be "running" my first half marathon at Brighton in February.  I'd been training really well and then injured my back on Christmas Day.   Following some physio and a 3 week break from running I managed to get up to 9 miles just before the half.  I had to adjust my finishing goal (I'd already set a 2 hr 30 min finish time) to just get round.  I didn't run all of it - there were a couple of walk breaks.   However my proudest moment of the day was crossing the line ten minutes over my original finish time and I beat Batman!   Gutted I won't be able to run it in 2014.

My biggest running disappointment has to be accepting my shinsplint injury and missing 4 races because of it.  I can't believe how stupid I was running through the calf and shin pain (my final 10k event in July was barely running I was in so much pain).   I've learnt rather a big lesson through this whole thing.  I have to warm up properly before running and I have to stretch and foam roll after, and do some kind of strengthening work alongside the running. 

Something which disappointed me at the time was my slow run at Bedgebury (although it's not surprising now I know why) and my near personal worst at South Coast Run.

I've not booked anything or set any targets for next year yet - just to get back running and enjoying being out on the roads and I have changed my mind about joining in with Janathon and I've set up a short term membership at LA Fitness!

Let me know what your highs and lows were and head over to Run with an Idea to see what everyone else's achievements were!

Friday, 13 December 2013

#Run With An Idea 7 - Why I Won't be Running on Christmas Day

The discussion blog #Run With An Idea is back!

This week's topic is a double header, although I've chosen the "negative one" - Why I will be running on Christmas Day/Why I won't be running on Christmas Day.

The last two years I've been super motivated to run over the Christmas break.  Unfortunately last year I pulled a muscle in back on Christmas morning getting dressed (yes I know, stupid way to pull a muscle!)  I couldn't have run Christmas Day anyway because we're always travelling somewhere for the festivities, but the previous year I did manage a Boxing Day run whilst staying at my parents - which was great.  A fresh place to run and a trip down memory lane all in one and a good way of burning all those excess Christmas dinner calories.

Unfortunately this year I won't be running on Christmas Day as my trip to physio on Monday means that I'm still not running until the New Year at the earliest (Cathy's not back at work until the 6th January)!  The shins are still too sore to contemplate running so instead I'm stuck with cycling (either in the gym or on the turbo), X Training, swimming and walking.  I'll also be dusting off the gym ball and free weights, and maybe the Davina DVDs will make an appearance.

If I had the opportunity to run on Christmas Day I think I would take it with both hands - what better way to set you up for the over indulgence.  Obviously some will say they'd never run on Christmas Day - it's time to spend with the family, relaxing and having fun.  However, I do think if it's your way of dealing with stress and you feel the need to run then do - even if it's only a couple of miles.  You'll de-stress, burn off some calories and be far more relaxed than you would if you hadn't been out!

So, would you run on Christmas Day?   

Are you dead against the idea and would rather spend your day doing family stuff? 

Come and join the discussion on Run With An Idea where you'll find lots of other people discussing the same topic.

Discussion blogs will be back in 2 weeks with a fresh topic.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Keeping Your Motivation Over the Winter Months

I've been approached by the team at SportsShoes who want to encourage people not to completely neglect exercise during winter, to give my top tips for maintaining exercise and diet over the winter months. 

We all know it's difficult to find the perfect time to run in winter - it's dark until 7.30/8am and by the time you get to 4pm it's dark again.   Most of us would prefer to stay in bed until it gets light or in the evening curl up on the sofa and watch TV.  When it's wet, cold and dark you really don't want to be outside running.  

A couple of weeks ago I attended a seminar on coping with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).  I've known for years that the best way to keep on top of my SAD is to exercise, outdoors as much as possible. 

So this post contains ideas for some of the things that have helped me in the past.  

If You Can Cope With Exercising Outside 

Any exercise in winter is better than none, even a 30 minute walk.  This was one of the reasons for getting the dog - not something that suits everyone but it's perfect for me as it forces me to go out even if I don't want to.  The dog has to be walked so out we go.  In fact some of our best walks have been in the winter, especially on snowy days when it's been a bit too slippy underfoot for running.

For the last two years I've taken part in Janathon - a great way to keep you motivated by pledging to run or exercise in some form every day  for the whole of January, logging on Running Free and blogging your achievements on a daily basis.   There's a leaderboard showing who's doing what and that certainly motivated me - targeting other participants to beat in miles or time spent. 

This winter I was hoping to take part in Jantastic (run by the guys at Marathon Talk) but that's not going to be possible now.  Pledge to run a certain amount of miles throughout January, February and March as a member of a group and log it on the Jantastic site. 

Exercise kit is also important during the winter months - after a couple of winters of getting it wrong and overheating and looking like the Michelin Man my top tips for clothing are as follows :-

  • Compression wear under normal long sleeve running tops and tights.
  • Long sleeve tops with another vest top over that on the coldest days
  • A running jacket - mine was a cheapy from Karrimor - good for keeping tissues and discarded gloves in pockets
  • A head torch is on my essential kit list - last winter I managed to run further and only because I bought a head torch for running through those dark, unlit areas of town
  • a buff, or similar scarf
  • high vis kit - a bib and snap bands
  • A headband to keep your ears warm or a beanie if you can cope with wearing one!
  • Gloves - although mine usually come off after 5 minutes

My top tip though - get yourself a training partner!   Someone who has similar goals and fitness level.  There will be no excuse to not run!  I have however learnt that I prefer to train alone.

Booking a spring race could keep you motivated to keep training - I booked Brighton Half Marathon for last February and it certainly helped to motivate me to get out as and when I could.  I actually found out I enjoy running in the rain, providing it's not freezing cold.

If You Really Can't Cope with Going Out Out! 

There's nothing wrong with exercising at home.  There are some great bits of kit - I bought an Airwalker (like a X Trainer but takes up far less room in my attic room).  Last Christmas I bought my husband a turbo trainer for use during the winter months and I will be using that as well during this winter as part of my recovery and fitness build up.

I've also got a small library of fitness DVDs and the Wii has been known to come out during the winter months when I really couldn't face going outside, and of course there are swiss balls, free weights and kettlebells. 

If you're feeling flush and can cope with it - get to your local gym.  Personally, I'm not keen on gyms in January, they're full of New Years Resolutions.  In the past I've spent more time waiting to use machines at the gym than I've spent working out, and there are always lots of classes to choose from.

I'm no expert on diet (I know what I should be doing but I find it hard to lose weight when I can't exercise properly) - I'm trying to follow all the rules of avoiding refined sugar and processed foods but it's very hard.  I try to eat as much fruit and veg as I can and have protein at every meal and eat a small amount of carbs.  I found out at the SAD seminar that the current recommendations for daily fruit and veg intake is between 5 & 7 different vegetables and 2 pieces of fruit.   I find the best way for me is to not deprive myself of anything - if I fancy some chocolate or a glass or two of wine I have it and worry about it later. 

So there is actually no need to lose fitness over the winter - workout indoors if you really can't face it and run outside at the weekends if you can.