Uncategorized

Type 1 Diabetes. I’m In For The Long Run.

I often get asked how I deal with running and Type 1 Diabetes. Particularly long runs. When training for marathons and ultras and the mileage starts creeping up, it becomes a split of concentrating on getting those miles in, whilst planning and executing perfect fuelling to ensure stable blood sugars and no crashes or harmful spikes in levels. I say perfect. It rarely is. When it is, boy does it feel good, but still now after a couple of years of running long, I am learning. Type 1 diabetes isn’t that beast that can be fully tamed. But I have found what works for me. Mostly.

Before I share my tips and how I fuel, please do take note. I am not medically qualified. this is just how I deal with it. My own opinion. You may find it helpful, you may not. Living with type 1 diabetes, isn’t a one size fits all condition. It’s extremely personal. Only you know your overall blood sugar control, and what works for some, doesn’t work for others. There’s different treatments to consider. I am still very much old school. I inject four times a day. 3 x Novarapid (short acting insulin) 1 x Lantus (long acting) so the advice and tips I have to give, wouldn’t necessarily apply to those on pumps. It is also very different to managing running with Type 2 Diabetes.

Before a Run

Unfortunately, when you are running with diabetes you do lose a little of the drop everything and just go for a run freedom. I do mostly try and plan when I am going to run. I certainly plan long runs.

pre run tips

  • Try not to run within two hours of giving yourself a short acting injection. For something short like a parkrun or half hour run, I will wait until afterwards to eat. Short runs can be more unplanned, so long as your sugar levels are ok before heading out. But the two hour rule still applies. Unfortunately this also means that if you are planning an early long run on a Sunday, yes you do need to get up extra early to eat a decent breakfast. The plus side is you can go back to bed and snooze for a while.
  • Try not to inject in the top of your legs. Stick to upper body. This can cause fluctuations in your sugar levels whilst running and working those leg muscles!
  • I tend to try and run on a starting level between 10 – 14 mmol/l. The higher end for a long run. I’ve found these levels work for me. They might be slightly different for you.
  • I always embrace the carbs before a long run, mostly just to keep something longer acting on board. It always helps me to keep more stable levels.

Short Runs

When I say short, I mean anything up to an hour. For a half hour run, I wont fuel. I don’t need to. I will just check my blood sugar is ok. I find around 10 mmol/l sits just fine. An hour run, I will have a few jelly babies or half a gel at 30 minutes. I have a few times, had a hypo around 45 minutes in if I haven’t taken anything, and particularly if I am working aerobically. Those easy runs drain my sugar levels. You would think it would be the other way around, but no. Hard efforts make them rise, easy makes them fall. Something to be aware of.  It can also be helpful to add in some short hard bursts to kick up the levels again, but depending on what you want to get out of a session, it may not fit. So stick with fuelling properly.

Long Runs

If you are marathon training, these are your bread and butter, and the most important run to nail fuelling. How you fuel during a long run, can be applied on race day. The more you can get this right in training, the better a race will be. If I am running anything over 10 miles, preparation starts the night before, with reducing the number of units of Lantus I take. I’ve found this not only helps to keep levels more stable during the run, but also helps to reduce the risk of a hypo in the hours after finishing. Embrace the carbs beforehand, but don’t go overboard! After trial and error, I’ve found porridge or a bagel works well for me. it’s the right amount of carbs I need to start off with, and also the ones that I can actually stomach before long running without encountering GI issues.  I tend to start long runs at 14 mmol/l or as close as possible.

During these runs, I aim to take on board a gel an hour. Which equates to roughly 30g of carbohydrates. My personal preference are torq gels, I’ve found these to work well for me. Plus there are some amazing flavours (Hello Rhubarb and Custard!) Most will need 30 – 60g per hour. I go to the lower end, based on reducing long acting insulin, the carbs I have beforehand, and the level I start off at. Again, it is trial and error as to what works for you.

I always, always carry something for treating a Hypo (low blood sugar) I’ve been caught out before, where I have been low in the middle of nowhere with nothing to treat the hypo. It is not a nice situation to find yourself in, is extremely dangerous and quite frankly terrifying. Again, plan on what works best to treat a hypo for you. For me, I take jelly babies. If I do start feeling a little low, I’ve found these work quickly to kick up the levels again. Sometimes some sporadic jelly babies are required on top of my gels. Particularly if I am doing a slower long run.

Ultramarathons

These are another thing altogether, although still the same principles of a long run. I can only stomach a certain number of gels, so for Ultras I have been using a mixture of Tailwind, flat coke and real food! Two double marathon ultras done, and still I’m learning. The second I did get it more right and although started going low, I didn’t have a hypo as I did in the first. I have a sachet of Tailwind per hour right from the start. The trick is to start early on and take little and often. Flapjacks worked well for me, along with peanut butter sandwiches. Finding what gives you energy but also sits well, again takes some playing around with. I spent some runs trying different foods. I also halved my Lantus the evening beforehand!

General Tips

  • I’ve mentioned a few times, trial and error. It really is.  The best way to learn about what works for you is to experiment safely. Try different things, different gels, drinks, sweets. It can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be, just be prepared. Go on longer runs, take a ‘survival kit’ to ensure you can treat low blood sugar. If you are concerned, rope in a friend to come with you, on foot or by bike. If that’s not possible, find a public mile loop close to home. Yes it’s boring, but it serves a purpose! Spend time testing before, during and after a run to see how your body reacts.
  • Always, always run with some form of easily accessible form of identification, your emergency numbers, and most importantly something that displays you are a type 1 diabetic. I run with my parkrun band on long runs, as this has medical condition and ICE details. You can also put this information in on your phone.
  • It’s a pain carrying emergency hypo treatment or fuel. I wear a Spibelt on shorter runs, and don’t notice it there at all. Plenty enough room to stash Jelly babies, phone, and for marathons, gel loops which is perfect! I almost, always, wear a Camlebak for long training runs. I take my blood sugar monitor, just in case (sometimes if out for a few hours, its reassuring to pause and test to see where your levels are at) and probably go a little over board with hypo treatments. I’d rather be prepared. Plenty of water to stay hydrated, especially when taking on gels.
  • Be kind to yourself. you can find what works, but there will always be times where curveballs are thrown in. Stress, lack of sleep, what you ate yesterday, misjudging the amount of insulin for your last meal, there’s a huge list of things that can throw a curveball in and mess with your blood sugars. Sometimes it may even seem like there is no real reason, it just happens. Don’t let it knock your confidence. It happens. So long as you are prepared, you’ll be fine. Try again, next time. You are a complete badass for doing what you do, whilst living with diabetes!

So that’s about all the little nuggets of useful information I have, whilst trying not to ramble too much! It can be scary, it can be a pain in the ass, it can be incredibly frustrating, but I promise you, it is worth it! Any other questions, please do feel free to leave a comment. Stay safe and happy running!

Ultra Training, Uncategorized

Popping My Ultra Cherry

So it’s happened. I am an ultramarathoner! I completed Race To The Tower. And what an epic, life affirming journey it was. So epic, I needed to calm myself down a little writing this piece for fear of turning into George R R Martin and creating a biblical sized novel.

I am still incredibly sore, 2 days post Ultra, beyond tired but I’m bursting with pride. I’m incredibly happy, in the best way.

I had to rely on a lift to get to the start line, in Stroud. My mother kindly offered. She drives like a mole, and was more worried about coffee stops than getting there. She took a wrong turn and sent us 15 minutes down the motorway in the wrong direction. Typical. She also doesn’t get running. Although she did kindly say she would be proud if I did three miles. Thanks mum. Still, we managed to arrive at the start with 25 minutes to spare before the off. Quick pee stop, start line selfies with some of the wonderful Instagram crew I did manage to spot and it was get to the start line for the warm up. I didn’t warm up. They make me cringe. Instead I babbled to two familiar faces, who I was lucky enough to bump into. This calmed the pre race nerves…. a little. I still felt like my stomach was in my mouth.

8am- let’s go! And it’s off. The first few miles flew by, finding a rhythm, trying to slow my breathing down. Nerves soon vanished. I’ll be honest I think they vanished at the very first gate (number one of 160) hearing everyone gigging and in high spirits waiting to go through.

The course was beautiful. Really stunning. But I soon realised that although I train on hills frequently, living where I do (I struggle to find a flat route) it hadn’t been enough. These hills along the Cotswold way were monsters. As I was trying my best to power walk up them, I made a mental note… you need to practice hiking more.

Pit stops 1, 2 and 3 flew by. I didn’t hang around long. Topped up the water bottles, grabbed some fruit (the watermelon was absolutely amazing) and snacky bits. My plan was to grab stuff I could eat on the go. Just walk for a while, whilst chomping on something to try not to lose any time. I do actually think I spent a fair few miles with salt and vinegar crisps getting shoved in my mouth, or annoying everyone around me with the jostle of crisps rattling in a bag clasped in my hand whilst I ran. Those and freddo frogs. Freddo frogs are a little less intrusive on eardrums!

After pit stop 3 it went downhill a little. Almost straight away, there was a ridiculously steep incline through some woods, around mile 18. It was single track and no where to escape to let anyone pass, so it was keep up or pass out! That hurt. I then fell, just being clumsy. I was too busy looking at the views. Bang. Down like a sack of spuds. I managed to take a chunk out of my hand and give myself a pretty impressive graze on my leg! Still, I thought, keep moving forward. My tummy started playing up a couple of miles later. Poo gate. I was begging for a secluded spot. None to be found. It was buttocks firmly clenched, and hang on for dear life until pitstop 4, halfway. I’m being honest…. toilet troubles and all. To add to matters, the final mile climb into pitstop 4 I had a huge hypo (low blood sugar) where I dropped down to 2.1. Trying to still move forward, whilst trying to ram jelly babies, dextrose and freddos down my chops, whilst trying not to shit my pants. Is this what Ultra running is all about?

Halfway, a marathon done. Once I had found solace in a portaloo, I didn’t stop for any of the wonderful ‘real food’ on offer. Instead I made myself a peanut butter and chocolate spread sandwich to eat on the go, and quickly drained a cup of flat coke. Which was amazing!

The poo and junk food worked wonders, soon I was flying along again, feeling really good. Positive and full of energy. The next part seemed to fly by again, the hills continued, I slowed, I found bits of energy. It’s so easy to be distracted by beautiful scenery. It helped. Pit stop 5 through a farm was great, more bread and flat Coke! Keep on moving.

Pit stop 6 (38.4 Miles in) and I realised I was starting to struggle. Emotionally more than anything. I felt tired and was hurting. I honestly had a good 5 minutes where I don’t know what happened but it felt like I could keep on crying forever. I was just overcome with emotion. I thought about my little boy. I thought about how 12 years ago to the day I had last held him. I thought about my babies who would be there for me at the finish. Emotional bloody rollercoaster. I guess that’s what ultras do. They bring it out, there’s no where to hide when it’s just you and your thoughts, your struggles. Thankfully I was inundated by virtual support from Instagram. I don’t think I could of done it without that. Just message upon message from people who had my back, urging me on, supporting me. Messages from my husband, willing me on. Thank god for 4g! I managed to get a grip. Slightly. I started admiring random trees and cows. There were some pretty impressive trees and cows.

44 miles in, the wheels came off completely. Blisters. All around the insides of my heels. I carried on for a couple of miles before deciding to stop, pop and cover. It didn’t offer any relief. I was down to a shuffle, at best. I didn’t feel too bad, but my god those blisters. Because I was down to a shuffle everything just started ceasing up. Pit stop 7 I could’ve quit. Only 5 miles to go. Only.

They were the longest miles I’ve ever known. It got dark, I overheard someone say that the last 10 gates were all up the horrific hill to the finish. The last mile. Running through the beautiful village of Broadway before this, did lift my spirits immensely! A beautiful evening, and beautiful pubs and houses. People cheering and clapping as we went past shouting encouragement. There was a huge part of me that just wanted to stop. Go and sit outside in a beautiful place and have cold cider. It sounded like heaven in my head.

I was met near the top of the evil hill that I was practically crawling up, by my eldest two children, and my husband. They came down with little lights shining. They looked like angels to me. Just gone 11pm, I finished by running over the finish line holding hands with them, my daughter then placing my medal around my neck. The flood of emotion that came out then was on another level. I’m pretty sure I could’ve filled both my soft flasks with tears.

I got really cold almost immediately and couldn’t stop shaking whilst my husband took my trainers off, and helped me into warm clothes. I felt really ropey. And yes, I was that person. I begged him to take me straight to McDonalds. Whilst sat waiting in drive through, any fluid left in me came out into a Tesco carrier bag. I’ve never professed to be classy!

I learnt a great deal from my first ultra. I do think that until you’ve actually done one, you just don’t know. It’s the unknown. You don’t know how your body will react, you don’t know if you’ve done the right training, if you’ve got everything dialled in. I certainly didn’t. I ballsed up my hydration from the start. I had one flask of water, one with electrolytes. Once I had finished these, I for some reason decided to stick to water only. This came at a price. The most important thing I think you can do is get that hydration and nutrition spot on in your training, and stick to it. I had two hypos in all, and would of been much more stable if I had paid attention to what I was consuming.

Kit wise, I was really comfortable. Blisters not so much. Again I should of dealt with them much earlier. I also forgot compeed. I took far too much. For an event such as one the Threshold series, where everything is catered for at extremely regular intervals, the route extremely well marked out, you don’t need to pack a picnic for the start as I did, or for the eventuality that you will be lost in the wilderness for days on end. I never touched my spare socks/shorts. I guess I would’ve if I hadn’t come across the portaloo

7800ft of elevation, 160 gates and styles, and relentless sunshine. Blisters, hypos, poo gate, and all that was in between. I just wanted to finish it. 10 weeks of training, the majority of which were super cautious to avoid the injury returning and I managed it. I made a lot of rookie mistake, but that’s the way to learn. My first ultra has stolen my heart. I’ve found something that I truly love to do. And I cannot wait to continue learning, and do it all over again!

Ultra Training

Crash Course Ultra Training

The last few weeks have been a flurry of all the sunshine, easy runs, cranking out a marathon as part of standard training (who even knew) and embracing hills as much as I embrace my coffee.

April saw the return from injury. Finally. Which meant keeping pretty much every run to an easy pace. One which was a lot slower than pre injury. I found it pretty tough, knowing that my first Ultra would soon be creeping up. It required patience and perseverance just getting my legs back in to running. Everything seemed off, from breathing to just feeling awkward. Pretty much, like starting all over again. Seeing what I should be doing to prepare for a double marathon and what I was actually doing was a little nerve wracking. But I stuck with it, complimenting those easy runs with lots of strength training and tlc in the stretching and rolling department.

Then I signed up to a local trail marathon. Please note, that I am telling you what I did do, which is most likely, totally not advisable.

13th May I completed the trail marathon in 5:18 hours. The longest run I had plodded before this was 6 miles (post injury) it was a huge risk, I could of come away with injury again. My aim was to just spend time on my feet, with a mixture of walk/running. Trying to suss out a tactic for how I would approach the ultra. It worked. I walked the huge hills (probably more crawled the last) and just kept moving forward. It was an incredibly difficult day for it, high temperatures and no escape from the blazing sun. It was also a 4 lap course, with abandoned aid stations after the first lap, and not another soul to be seen. Even when I finally crossed the finish line there was nothing. The whole event (which had a nice number enter the 10k option – the first lap) had been taken down. No finish line, nothing. One person, sat on a chair by a timing mat, waiting for my return. I cannot tell you how soul destroying that was. Aside from my views of how shocking the whole event was, it served its purpose and probably helped a huge deal with mental preparation. Yes humming the wheels on the bus did help.

I actually felt amazing on the days that followed and happily eased back into more easy miles. I don’t know if it was the easy pace, or the numerous Epsom salt baths and my new found love of Oofos recovery shoes but it was all good.

The second long run of 24 miles followed that week. Again, super easy. I walked, I ran, and I stopped at a shop to have a lolly in the stupidly hot weather. I enjoyed this much more than the marathon. But running along the River Wye in beautiful surroundings on such a beautiful day certainly contributed to it. I have a new love for Ultra training long runs as opposed to marathon training. No paces to hit, no slogging out a long run. Just time on feet, taking it all in. No pressure.

I did feel the results of these two weeks with my energy levels taking a huge dent. I ran an appalling trail race a few days after this run. Just couldn’t get going, completely out of puff. The hills most definitely ruined me that day. The recovery beer helped take the edge off any bad feelings about that though.

The last long run before taper, of 14 miles again was a completely different story. Most enjoyable until mile 10, energy levels had returned. The last 4 miles of all the uphill Home, and a huge thunder storm made me drop any easy pace and pelt it. A lot more strenuous than it should of been!

Now it’s less than two weeks to go until Race To The Tower, and that has been the extent of my training. 3 weeks of 30-39 miles, far lower than I would of wanted. But time on feet spent, different weather conditions and making sure that almost every one has included huge hills. I don’t know how it’ll all fare come 9th June. But I know I’ve done as much as I can without being completely ridiculous, I’ve come through without injury, I’m feeing stronger and I’ve recovered well.

I also know that time isn’t an issue for me. I’m not racing it, I’m not wanting to be a super speedy speed machine. The reason I entered Race to The Tower, is because it’s the 12th anniversary of my son passing away. The last day I held him. I struggle every year around this time. So to spend time doing the thing I love, the thing that helps me mentally, remembering him whilst challenging myself in beautiful surroundings…. for me, that is what my first ultra is all about.

ASICS Frontrunner, Uncategorized

There’s Always Room To Dream

The last week has been an unbelievable whirlwind. The kind of week where when I think about it, I do a little head shake in disbelief.

Take it back to January. ASICS opened their 2018 frontrunner applications to find new members to join their existing inspirational frontrunners. Of course, I applied. How could I not. I remember submitting my application, shaking. I really wanted this. I really wanted to be part of such a positive, encouraging network of people. I wanted to be inspiring, like the frontrunners I had followed and watched as their journeys progressed. Immediately I tried to forget about it. As the days and weeks passed I could see so many wonderful people from all backgrounds had applied. So many others wanted the opportunity just as much as I did.

Imagine my complete shock when I received an email to say I had been successful. Out of 4600 applications, I had been chosen as one of the 26 new members. I screamed, I read the email over and over. My eldest daughter squealed in delight as I read it to her. She squeezed me with an almighty bear hug around the waist, her face completely lit up and told me she was so proud of me. My husband was proud of me. The youngest two, just wanted a treat, trying to take advantage of the excitement!

I’ve never thought of myself as inspirational. I’ve never really thought of myself as anything other than just getting on with it, sharing as I go. Maybe encouraging. I will always try and encourage anyone to just try. Try it once. Try it twice… just to make sure. I’m ridiculously positive. I do know that. I truly believe that there is a positive in everything if you look for it. I’ve been through some almighty soul crushing moments in my life. I’ve lost a child, something no mother should ever experience. I have a serious condition which has the potential to be life threatening on a daily basis, and will no doubt lead to life changing complications in my old age. I’ve made mistakes left, right and centre…. but generally I learn from them. Even whilst doing the three peaks challenge solo and breaking my wrist on the first mountain, I still remained positive, and managed to still complete the challenge in 22 hours before heading to A&E. I wouldn’t advise climbing Snowdon in the dark solo with a broken wrist however.

I’m relatively new to running. Two years. I didn’t really start taking it more seriously until last year even, when I stared training for London Marathon! But I’ve been hooked since. I love everything about it, I love learning about it, expanding my knowledge, learning from others, sharing with others. And whilst I was sat in a conference room in Birmingham this weekend, meeting fellow ASICS frontrunner team members for the first time, I realised this was just what this team meant. People from all walks of life here to share, encourage and promote running. Not just for frontrunners, but for anyone. Everyone. It was an exhilarating feeling being surrounded by so many motivational, inspirational people. Not one of us were the same. We all have something different to offer. There may be similarities, some of us like marathons, some ultras. Some triathlons, some a bit of everything. New runners, experienced. Old and young. But we are all individual. A diverse group bringing our individuality together, to get moving. To encourage. To support.

I left Birmingham, happy. Invigorated. I left feeling part of something special. I am beyond excited to see where my journey goes this year. And yes, I’m still going for that GFA. That’s my goal, because I don’t like being told I can’t achieve something. No one should ever listen to that.

“Don’t limit your challenges, challenge your limits”

Paris Marathon Training

A Positive February Flop

Well, the last three weeks (pretty much the whole of February) hasn’t gone to plan. Very much off plan. Plan, has not been life.

The wheels first came off with a hip niggle that was fine to run with, until I took part in another trail night race. Although a fantastic race, the uneven ground, mud, tree roots and almost waist high ‘water features’ left me a hobbling mess. To be precise, running across a field with a severe camber…. really finished me off. Unfortunately this was at the beginning of the race, which left 5 miles of hobble. I’ve no doubt this would of been fine had I not had the underlying hip niggle. Lesson learned. Don’t tough it out.

To add insult to injury I then developed a horrible ‘flu type virus’ that absolutely wiped me out for the best part of two weeks. Joint aches and pains, and absolute exhaustion. Horrible.

Not quite over any of the above I then decided it would be a great idea to tough it out at Llanelli half marathon. I’d heard it was such a lovely route, along the coast, nice and flat. Part of me maybe even thought I could sweat out the remaining bit of flu. In case you haven’t realised by now, my great ideas are normally ridiculously stupid. It was the most painful race I’ve ever run, and that’s saying something after my horrid London Marathon last year. The first few miles flew by, but then it hit me. Every bit of me screamed and hurt. The big flu telling me I’m a fool. The hip, groin and quad all telling me I’m a dick, and this is payback. Run, walk or crawl resonated in my head….. the crawling so appealing. As it was, it was a slug shuffle at best to a 2:08:55 finish.

There is something about ‘runners’ that will keep us from admitting to ourselves that we need to slow down. We need to take care of ourselves. We will hit the training sessions hard, give it all. Obsess over plans, paces. Do all the research, how do I become faster, how can I go further, how can I get stronger? Yet when injury or illness comes knocking on the door, we try to fight it. Work around it, just keep on going. We very rarely, listen. One of the hardest parts is acknowledging and accepting there is a problem. That actually, you need to take a step back. For me, admitting there is a problem has meant admitting there’s a weakness. That I’m failing. Who likes to say that out loud? In fact, who wants to admit they may not be able to run for a while?

But by acknowledging a problem before it explodes, you can take positive steps to correct it. Accepting you have a problem, gives you a priceless peace of mind. There’s an issue, but it’s ok! We are all works in progress, from the runner just starting out to seasoned ultra marathoners. It would be a very rare thing to find a person immune to injury and illness. It happens. It’s normal. I’ve tried to retain a positive attitude during the last few weeks, and done my best to be proactive once I realised that I had to stop. I’ve done the resting, the cross training, all of the stretching and strengthening that was lacking previously. I’ve visited the sports therapist, and necked vitamins. I’ve stayed away from Dr Google (once a professional had informed me of the problem…..before that I was most definitely heading for a chopped off leg) Just tried to be patient and ride it out. I’ve accepted that this is a big dent in the marathon training, and that actually I will need to adapt my goals for the 8th April. 6 weeks to go and I’m just happy to be able to do a few miles. To be able to build up some base mileage again, whilst paying attention to my body. Hopefully normal service has resumed. If not, well I’ll keep working at it until it has.

So here’s to running, run happy, run short, run long…..but most of all listen to that body of yours.

Paris Marathon Training, Uncategorized

Don’t expect it to be perfect. It won’t be.

Marathon plans. You write them, colour code them, print them. Dutifully tick off training sessions, swap them around, do everything in your power to not miss a session…. because we all know when you do, the feelings of guilt and failure come in. Which in itself is ridiculous, missing a few sessions will not ruin the rest of the hard work! There’s something about a ‘plan’ that means even when a leg is hanging off, or you can’t move your head without a needing a whole pack of Kleenex shoved up your nose, you will still try and stick to it. But reality Is, that I know of no one who hits every session, who has had the smooth perfect training cycle for a marathon. There are far to many external factors, there’s life. And doesn’t that like to throw a spanner in the works!

Week 4

Well the luck bucket seemed to have half emptied for the last two weeks of training. Not so much running wise, that’s been pretty good, apart from the standard tired legs.

Week 4 was supposed to end in a half marathon race plus a bit extra to make up my long run. Since most of my long runs are solo affairs, I’ve booked events with the aim of going steady and at least having some company to break up those long slogs. The event was the Windsor winter half marathon, held by F3 events at Dorney Lake, a 2 hour 30 minute drive from me, but hey…. would be worth it for a ‘flat and fast course’ and a bit of bling.

Well that wasn’t to be. After dutifully doing my bit and driving to the event, I was then met with a huge queue of traffic. Standstill less than 2 miles from the car park. As race time approached I realised it would be touch and go if I would make it! Then I received a message to say the half marathon had been cancelled and downgraded to a 5k or 10k. I was sat stuck in traffic to get into a car park of a cancelled event. Wonderful. As the original race time came and went I turned the car around, with a fair few choice words and began the long trudge Home. By the time I got home I was tired. A near enough 6 hour round trip (thanks to weather and traffic) a Burger King stop and numerous costas weighed heavy! Still, there was a long run to do, so I headed straight out to get it done before I could think about how much I wanted the sofa and comfy clothes!! 16.5 miles later, soaked to the bone the job was done. And actually the rubbish fuelling and lengthy car journey didn’t have too much of an impact. Mentally it was tough.

Week 4 total – 43 miles

Week 5

Pretty uneventful…. until again, the long run curse! First of I’ve broken my hydration pack. To be fair, for only a cheap one it’s done it’s fair share of work. I’m currently researching hydration vests before making another purchase, and will be sure to share the results. So the eve of my long run I decided I would stick to 4.5 mile loops, which went past my house. That way, I could create my own little aid station, therefor saving having to carry a cumbersome water bottle. Friday came, and it was set perfect for my long run…. glorious weather, the older two at school and the toddler at nanny’s for a good few hours. Friday was my day, a weekend of night shifts approaching and the last thing I wanted to squeeze in was a long run on very little sleep. So off I trotted on this perfect day, to come across a dog playing in traffic 4 miles in. I stayed for a while watching it, coaxing it on to the pavement, thinking it would bound into one of the many open gates surrounding me. It didn’t. I started off thinking if I went away it might go in. It didn’t. It just kept picking up twigs and following me on the pavement. Concerned it would start playing chicken with the traffic once more I ran back to the place I had come across it. Still no sign of owner or it wanting to go home. I couldn’t leave it. Luckily I was wearing my spibelt, so off it came to act as a temporary lead in order to take little Houdini back home then to sort finding owners. I didn’t realise quite how much he would pull and my poor Spibelt along with my long run was soon destroyed. It took an hour of waiting outside before pooch was reunited with the most ungrateful owner. Long run ruined, but dog safe and sound. Completely worth it.

On a side note, I had been storying the whole thing on Instagram, and the wonderful people at Spibelt had seen the story, and are sending out a replacement for me! So nice, epic customer service.

Week 5 long run was completed a day later, yesterday. It wasn’t meant to be. I had gotten a few hours sleep following my night shift, had woke up and feasted on cheese scone and coffee before deciding on getting a few miles done. The few miles soon ticked by into 17 miles at an easy pace. I’m thoroughly enjoying catching up on Marathon Talk podcasts at the moment, and I’m sure that contributes to the miles going by when on the longer runs!

Week 5 total – 41 miles

At this point I’m feeling really good with, for me, the high mileage weeks. Whilst training for London Marathon 2017 I ran 100 miles in January. So far this month I have run 171. A huge difference. I was plagued with injuries during London training, never felt quite right. For some strange reason my legs are seemingly loving the higher mileage. I’m not complaining though. Perhaps it’s because I’m more diligent with stretching and strength training. Perhaps because I am sticking with the majority of my miles being easy paced. Whatever it is, long may it continue in February!!

Paris Marathon Training, Uncategorized

Week Three. Who dares, wins.

Week Three of Paris Marathon training has been such a fantastic one, following on from a great week 2, I’m almost too scared to start week 4. It’s been a week of fun, with two very different races completed, and still running every day for the Run Every Day Challenge for the charity Mind.

It’s been a lower mileage week (40 miles) than last week (47 Miles) as technically, following the ‘Advanced Marathoning’ plan it should be a recovery week. Now, I am a little behind on the 16 week plan. More like I just missed the first couple of weeks. December and Christmas lead up happened. We all know what that is like. But since kicking back in to it, I’ve decided to follow with the recovery week as scheduled, so as not to mess with the remaining plan anymore.

This week has consisted of

Monday – 1 Mile warm up (to continue run streak) followed by 40 minutes of HIIT

Tuesday – 8 Miles (general aerobic with 10 x 100m strides

Wednesday – 5 miles (easy)

Thursday – 5.3 miles trail night race

Friday – 5 miles (recovery)

Saturday – 3.1 miles (easy, grass running)

Sunday – 13.1 miles half marathon race (completed at a steady effort)

Sprinkled with core work, strengthening and stretching (a lot of stretching)

The races (side note…. absolutely loved my bib numbers this week. Containing my lucky number 8… winner, winner!)

Race one. Rogue Runs, Beechenhurst night race.

Based in my home stomp of the Forest Of Dean, 5.3 miles of wonderful woodland paths, tracks and bridleways, hills, ankle deep mud and all in the dark of the night? Glorious. Such a fun, wonderfully organised event. When the race director advises at the start line to run is at your own risk, promptly followed by holding up a local newspaper showing a man with the tip of his finger bitten of by our mean looking wild boar residents, you know it’s going to be a good one! There’s something very primal about adventuring in the woods in the black of the night. For someone who has the elegance of a baby elephant wearing roller skates, it was as much as I could do to stay upright during some of the more difficult mountain bike trails. Which seemed to slope off in every angle all at once, covered in tree roots, rocks and mandatory mud. That’s mandatory mud before the actual ‘mud bath’ now that woke me up!

But it was so much fun. It did cross my mind at various points how sensible I wasn’t being considering one wrong step could of resulted in no more spring marathon, but I felt alive. It was fun. And sometimes, that is just what is needed to keep the mind fresh and focused on the relentless marathon training.

Race number two. Gloucester Half Marathon.

Again, another well organised event, with the most friendliest of marshalls! By no means flat. But lovely country lanes for the most part, with some ‘inclines’ I wasn’t expecting much from this one, other than to use it as a training run. Having so far remained unscathed from winter bugs, a lovely breathing restricting but snot flowing cold had come and taken its hold. I tried to keep it easy and relaxed, although I was aware at quite a few points I was working far too hard for that, and had to have a few walk breaks to try and regain some control of my breathing as my chest tightened!

Absolutely over the moon to have walked away an official PB by 12 minutes! This excites me more than I can describe, because it shows me that the hard work is paying off. I’ve taken a gamble doing a high mileage training plan, and so far it’s working wonders. I’ve been questioning all the easy paces, it’s hard not to, but if it’s working….. I need to trust in it a little bit more!

Uncategorized

The November run streak. Two thirds done.

So what’s a girl to do when you’re at a bit of a loose end prior to marathon training schedule starting? I decided run streak! That is running a number of days in a row. Everyday. Minimum 1 Mile. Not naked running. Although this may have been an option to get some speed in the legs for fear of being seen!

There’s a couple of reasons why I am running every day throughout November. I am not very good when there is no structure to my running. I need routine, a plan, a challenge. Something to stop myself from taking the easy option of sofa and a small giants portion of cake. So the small giants portion of cake hasn’t gone, but happily sticking to my run goals for November is there at least.

I also wanted to build up a good aerobic base prior to marathon specific training. To be quite frank, just any base is more than welcome after my complete slow down, almost complete halt following Berlin Marathon.

Finally I wanted to do something for Diabetes Awareness Month that I wouldn’t normally do. It can be hard running with Type 1 Diabetes. It can throw a million and one challenges at you. So what better way to flip the proverbial bird than to run every day! No rest for the wicked!

20 days in, 100 Miles covered. What have I discovered during my short time of running every day? Quite a bit.

I have learnt to go slow in order to run more. Almost every run has been a relaxed easy pace. This has worked wonders for me. October was spent entertaining an array of niggles. Since running more, at a slower pace the niggles have subsided and I feel so much stronger. This hasn’t all been down to easy miles. I have been very conscious of spending time daily stretching and incorporating strengthening routines, all of which have been beneficial!

There have been a few rest days. For these a mile plodding along with the dog has been a welcome break.

There have been times where I thought I didn’t have time or felt too tired to run. Fitting it in around work, family, kids, general everyday madness has been a challenge some days! It’s amazing how you suddenly find ways of fitting in a run….. and how much better you feel for getting it done.

I’ve also become very reliant on dry shampoo. It’s been my saviour, many a day! 😂

10 more days to go, until I finish my November challenge. Hopefully I will still be as chirpy at the end of it. Hopefully I will have hit my goal of 150 Miles. Hopefully, I can then save money on coffee and dry shampoo!

Uncategorized

The Challenge Is On!

It’s on like donkey Kong. Well, actually it has been since the 9th October. It’s just that life has got in the way a little. So, a new blog. to document my journey over 12 months of trying to achieve what many would see as an impossible task.

To qualify for good for age for London Marathon. Sub 3:45. Now for the speedsters, the natural runners amongst us, this is more than achievable. For me, it means taking a wholesome 1 hour 25 minutes off my current marathon PB. Admittedly Berlin Marathon, my second of 2017 did not go to plan. That’s a story for another time. But there it is, it’s still personal best. It does mean however, planning the next year around clever training, juggling work, children, the ups and downs (literally) of type 1 diabetes and life in general.

Why would you do this? I hear you cry. Another rejection in the London Marathon ballot. The odds are very rarely in your favour due to the popularity of it. It doesn’t stop there. If you want to run the Abbot World Marathon majors (which I do – two down), well you’ve more chance to do so, being good for age. Ballots do not like me, and no amount of positive or wishful thinking have ever given me a chance in them. But also, stubbornness. Pride. An opportunity to prove the doubters wrong and show that if you want it bad enough, you can achieve it. Or at least get close enough to say you’ve given it everything.

Doubt and restrictions set by others kills more dreams than failure from trying ever would.

Official training for Paris begins the beginning of December. It will be very different to my previous two marathon training cycles, and I shall of course be sharing as much as possible. Right now, its crack on with trying to be in the best place possible to begin a high mileage training cycle.

So there it is. This is what it is. Hopefully an honest and upfront account of my journey to Good for Age. The ins and outs of training, and results. It’s going to be a roller coaster, no doubt about it.