Monday, 28 October 2013

The end is nigh

8 days since my last post - 8 days! It's not that I'm bored of posting - honest, it's just that I haven't done anything worth blogging about while I've been laid up with this back problem.
However, signs are good that I can resume exercise at the end of this week so I am going for a steady run with hubby on Saturday and all being well I will go for another one on sunday - I cannot tell you how excited I am at the prospect!
PLUS if the running goes well I am hoping to start a new round of Insanity on Monday - I say "hoping" because if I feel stiff in the back after running I will put Insanity off for a further week, there's no point me pushing things too far and ending up in this same predicament again.
My diet has been neither good nor bad, I've had too many treats but in the same token I haven't reverted back to fatty foods for meals, I've really gotten the hang of fat free cooking and eating Salmon, chicken & Turkey etc as opposed to burgers and chips. While I haven't weighed myself yet I know some damage has been done so I will weigh myself the day I start Insanity.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Oh dear!

One whole week and no change in my back - a whole week!!!!
The Black dog is sleeping soundly in his kennel though so at least depression is one thing I have under control just now - surprisingly!
Hubby has me on bed rest, honestly it's like being in prison. I'm allowed down for regular walking to stretch my legs and get some fresh air but that's it - I can't go out in the car, I can't potter in the garden and I can't do housework (that's the worst thing ever for me).
Hubby came back from running errands yesterday with a big bag full of magazines (gardening ones too - yay!) and books followed by an even bigger bag of goodies. I don't know what mortified me more, the sight of tins of quality street, chocolate Oranges, midget Gems, cookies etc or the realisation that this is at least a months supply of treats and that's how long I'm stuck here.
Guess I won't even bother doing a final weigh in for Dietbet then! Though hubby did make sure he mixed the sweets up with plenty of fruit too.
My pinterest page is looking very healthy though due to all this spare time I have - though I think I maybe need to stop looking just for now because I have at least 40 projects on my to do list. As well as all the xmas cards, wreaths etc I want to get done I have a whole heap of pallet wood to work with (oh yes, I am a crafter on a huuuuuge scale) though I suspect making this Adirondack chair out of pallet wood may actually be what contributed to this disc problem.
The offending object which has now been painted 'Summer Damson' colour.

Yup I suspect all the cutting, sanding and building of this little beauty is what caused my current condition - shame as I have 3 more to make.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Let sleeping dogs lie.

OK so the 'Black Dog' is no longer snarling and gnashing at me with all the ferocity of a rabid animal, in fact I would say that although he's not sleeping in his kennel he IS at least laying in it - albeit it with very watchful eyes just biding his time and looking fr the slightest crack in my mood that will enable him to have his fun again.
My main tool in the fight against the 'Black Dog' is music, as I've said before the 'Black Dog' hates music because while I'm listening to it he can't get my attention with his snapping and snarling and the novelty soon wears off for him. Follow that with positive thought (which is very hard to do sometimes) and I begin to lift my mood and gain control back.

Mr SG's back is all healed which is brilliant however today I have managed to damage mine again - not so brilliant!
I've had a stiff back for a few days but when I was pulling pallets apart today I got this sudden intense feeling of pain in my spine. I came indoors and took some painkillers but nothing is touching it so I'm now hoping and praying that I haven't popped a disc again like I did in July.
Needless to say I can't run which is really annoying and I had intended to begin Insanity in a weeks time because now winter is here I know I won't get to run more than two maybe three times a week.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Hello darkness my old friend!

Crikey, has it really been 6 days since I last blogged on here?
I still haven't run and the longer I leave it the less appealing it is becoming. The main problem has been that the nights are getting darker and it's the only time Mr SG can run cos he works all day but the real problem now is that he has damaged his back so can't run anyway. I keep saying I'll get out on my own but I never do.
The Black dog (depression) has been content in his kennel for months it seems but gradually over the past week or so he's gone from warning growls to snapping at my heels - hence the post title. I'm now seriously struggling to get him to back down and for a while I didn't want to, the darkness was so familiar - how destructive is that!
I know the steps I have to take to shut him up and exercise is one of them, it's just so bloody difficult when all I want to do is hide in a corner and listen to the silence.

I'm going to stop this moany, whinging, sad post right now and in future I will run with the concept that if I have nothing nice to say then I'll say nothing at all............I'll just play it out in little stick men images instead lol.

Anyway just bear with me while I sort this guy out

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Fartlek, Tempo & Intervals

I'm just about recovered from Sundays 10k but why it's taken me 5 days I'll never know! My foot was better after just a couple of days but then the calf pain started followed by some random backside pain - probably from sitting on it too much.
Hopefully running will begin again tomorrow and surprisingly I'm looking forward to it - I actually WANT to run, how bizarre is that, it's certainly never been something I've wanted to do rather something I know I've needed to do.
Analysing it I can see it's the thrill of sundays race that has got me feeling like this, yes, it was a naff finish but I felt great for most of it and I cannot explain how bloody fantastic it felt to be overtaking people time after time - last time I did that run I could barely catch up with the walkers when I was running my fastest.
Anyway like I said I'm really looking forward to running but I have decided we need to get some more information on the best way to train - simply going out there and running is not cutting it for me now because a) I want to be able to sprint the finish and b) I don't want to feel dead at the end of it.
So with that in mind I took to the tinterweb to see what information I could find that would help me to improve my running times and leave me with enough energy to sprint the finish.
While I would love to say that I am now enlightened and have a firm plan in place it would be a complete lie to even suggest it!
Seriously have you guys ever checked the web for this kind of info? How on earth are you supposed to filter the good advice from the psychotic advice? And why do so many training plans for novice/intermediate 10k runners involve running 6 days a week? Sod that malarky - 6 days a week?

From what I can deduce from the masses of info I have found my weekly run needs to incorporate 1 Fartlek run (can't say that out loud without giggling - it's the 5 year old in me), a tempo session and a long run. All very nice but what the heck is Fartlek and/or tempo? Mr SG and I have done the odd speed session so is that different to Fartlek or tempo?

Ask coach Jenny, that's what I'll do! And here is how she explains the difference

"Fartlek Workouts are not only fun to say out loud, but they're fun to run. Fartlek is Swedish for "speed play," and that is exactly what it’s all about. Unlike tempo and interval work, fartlek is unstructured and alternates moderate-to-hard efforts with easy throughout. After a warmup, you play with speed by running at faster efforts for short periods of time (to that tree, to the sign) followed by easy-effort running to recover. It’s fun in a group setting as you can alternate the leader and mix up the pace and time. And in doing so, you reap the mental benefits of being pushed by your buddies through an unpredictable workout. The goal is to keep it free-flowing so you’re untethered to the watch or a plan, and to run at harder efforts but not a specific pace.
Bennies = Stress-free workout that improves mind-body awareness, mental strength, and stamina.
Tempo Workouts are like an Oreo cookie, with the warmup and cooldown as the cookie, and a run at an effort at or slightly above your anaerobic threshold (the place where your body shifts to using more glycogen for energy) as the filling. This is the effort level just outside your comfort zone—you can hear your breathing, but you're not gasping for air. If you can talk easily, you’re not in the tempo zone, and if you can’t talk at all, you’re above the zone. It should be at an effort somewhere in the middle, so you can talk in broken words. Pace is not an effective means for running a tempo workout, as there are many variables that can affect pace including heat, wind, fatigue, and terrain. Learn how to find your threshold and run a tempo workout that is spot on every time here.
Bennies = Increased lactate threshold to run faster at easier effort levels. Improves focus, race simulation, and mental strength.
Interval Workouts are short, intense efforts followed by equal or slightly longer recovery time. For example, after a warmup, run two minutes at a hard effort, followed by two to three minutes of easy jogging or walking to catch your breath. Unlike tempo workouts, you’re running above your red line and at an effort where you are reaching hard for air and counting the seconds until you can stop—a controlled fast effort followed by a truly easy jog. The secret is in the recovery as patience and discipline while you’re running easy allows you to run the next interval strong and finish the entire workout fatigued but not completely spent. Just like rest, your body adapts and gets stronger in the recovery mode.
Bennies = Improved running form and economy, endurance, mind-body coordination, motivation, and fat-burning."

Enlightened? No me neither!
There are also so many 10k running programs out there that it's hard to know which one will work best for you and I guess that just comes down to trial and effort.

I found this Harvey Walden program that looks pretty good on the face of it because it seems he only has you running 3 times a week. I would prefer 4 times a week maximum so it wouldn't be difficult to add a days run to this program.

Another 3 times a week 10k training programme can be found over at 'Lazy Runner' blog.

I also found information via an article written by Patti & Warren Finke titled "SLOW DOWN! and run your best 10k ever!" based on endurance and explains how to use your heart rate to get peak performance. Don't let the term "peak performance" make you think that the article is only relevant to serious runners though, it looks like basic information that can help any runner and or walker take the guesswork out of improving overall performance. I'm definitely going to use this information to finally get the hang of my watches HRM that I've never used.

As for a 10k programme though, I'm certainly going to work one out that suits myself and what I hope to achieve. My next 10k is not until next April/May so for the next few weeks I will simply concentrate of mileage rather than Fartlek or Tempo etc etc. by the time I need to have a schedule in place for next year I'll hopefully have gotten my head round alot of this.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Baxters River Ness 10k in the bag!

Sundays 10k race has got to be my favourite so far!
The day was set to be warm weather wise (which it was) but most importantly for me there wasn't even a hint of a breeze anywhere - perfect!
The day started early - 4am for Wayne, 5am for me and 6am for the rest of the household (My mum, Leanne, Owen, Stacey & John) due to having a 2 hour drive to the start of the race at Inverness. Because we had so many coming to support us we had to take 2 vehicles which meant I had to be a driver and this was the part I really wasn't looking forward to - for one I'm Narcoleptic and although I take meds and no longer have sudden sleep attacks past experiences pre diagnosis are always in the back of my mind and also because the car has decided to develop a fault which can stop the flow of fuel to the engine if it's driven wrong i.e by Wayne. Luckily it didn't have any problems with my driving - phew!
Once we'd dropped the support off in Ness town Wayne, Leanne and myself took one vehicle to the start line.
The atmosphere from the minute we arrived was absolutely second to none, with over 3000 10k runners a huge effort had been made to keep everyone jolly and motivated - mind you I think the sun did a good job of that too.
I wasn't going to bother using my GPS for this 10k because it's well marked but I thought I'd have a go at keeping an eye on my pace time with it so that we could make our 'suggested time' (1hr 15mins). As it turned out I didn't record the first 1k accurately because I hadn't paused the watch while we were waiting to start so it shows the first 1k as taking 32mins.
The start was an incline so Wayne kept me very slow for that but we soon picked up the pace on the flat and I have to say I was loving it. I've worked out why I couldn't run fast for long and so have adapted my running style (basically picking my knees up instead of running like scissors) and I found myself overtaking so many people, which is always good for the ego and motivation.
For the first 6k I really was flying and actually really enjoying it.
As the first water station approached at 6k I was kind of desperate for some fluid and nearly choked while taking it so Wayne suggested that at the next one he should grab the water and would get a bottle with a squirty spout rather than one with just a bottle top.
About 7k  I started to get jelly legs and to lose some of my momentum, it was getting hard to continue at my current pace but I was determined to keep going. The jelly legs didn't get worse but it was hard to run with them and then I started to feel sick and so so tired. Wayne kept me going to the next water station and I tried to eat a couple of Jelly beans but found I just couldn't chew, run and breathe at the same time so had to give up with that idea.
With just 2k left to go the route turns up the side of the River Ness and you can see and hear the finish line, however this was my Achilles heel last time I did this race because you have to run up one side of the river away from the finish line, cross a bridge and run back down and again I struggled with it - I really wanted to stop and give up.
Leanne had gone off at her own pace at about the 6k mark, she'd suffered a stitch from trying to keep to my slower pace and needed to run it out so by the time I hit the bridge to go to the finish Leanne would already have crossed it.
Somehow Wayne managed to keep me going, I didn't walk once, I didn't stop once, I just put my head down dug in and thought of the soup and roll at the end.
I have never been so glad to cross a finish line!
My official chip time was 1hr 11mins 46 secs, a personal best and shaving a good 5 mins off the Turbine 10k a couple of weeks ago.
Leannes official time was 1hr 4mins, another personal best and shaving 11 mins off her official Turbine 10k time.
Wayne had the same time as me which I feel bad about because I know he could do a 40min 10k at his pace.

Lovely setting alongside River Ness. Wayne looks as though he's walking at this point lol.

Desperately looking for the finish line.

Leanne has alot more energy left in the bag than me at the end and looks as though she could go again - apparently she was determined not to let anyone overtake her at this point and sprinted to the finish - she makes it look so easy!

So glad to be done! The lady behind the Baxters barrier on the right is my mum and the guy near her is Owen - Leannes boyfriend!
Ignore the clock time, it goes off the minute the first person goes over the start hump. Our chips attached to our race numbers gives us our actual time.

I had nothing left in the tank at the end of this race - something I am definitely going to work on. By the 9k mark I was struggling just to lift my legs and once I got over the finish line I was knackered to the point of not knowing where I was or who all these people were, I was really confused and just had to hold onto Wayne until it passed. I think it scared the living daylights out of my poor mum because she says I didn't recognise anyone and was wondering why I put myself through it.
Recovery was quick though and we filtered through to get our medal and goody bag, meet our family and then get the free soup and roll Leanne and I had so looked forward to.

Goody bags were especially good at this 10k

As we headed round for the soup and roll Wayne realised that he'd lost our tickets during the run but when we saw the queue to the tent we figured we'd leave it anyway - it was seriously long.
There was alot of entertainment at the finish line but Wayne and I had to get the shuttle back to the start line to pick up the car so we arranged to meet everyone else back in town and then we'd go for something to eat.
My feet felt fine during the race, I had one numb foot toward the end but nothing else so I was surprised when I went to get off the shuttle bus to find that my right foot felt broken, it was seriously painful to walk, not cramp like the last time but the bone hurt.
I sucked it up and limped along though, met the guys in the town and thankfully McDonalds was full so we didn't have to eat there, instead we went out of town to Pizza hut where we could make full use of the free salad and pasta bar alongside a few slices of Meat Feast pizza - bliss!
I was concerned I'd be too tired to make the 2 hour journey home but I made it easy.
The next day my foot was real bad and the bone on the outside felt really tender, I'm not sure what I did but it feels much better today so maybe it was just the impact of running.

We'll definitely be entering this race again next year, the atmosphere was brilliant and the support of locals round the entire course is brilliant too.
Looking at my GPS data I can see that we kept our pace way under 7mins per km and km 4-5 when I felt especially good we managed in 5mins 55 as was kms 7-8, the last km was the longest at 8mins but I would expect that with how I was feeling.

I'm not sure what those sudden spikes are because I didn't stop once or slow down to any great extent, maybe the GPS lost signal during those points.