Sunday, 29 March 2009

I did not expect a Personal Best.

Just a quick update this time. I promise.

Liverpool Half Marathon results:

Time: 1 hour 50 minutes and 50 seconds
Position: 1,564th (I don't know how many people took part but my mum was something like 2,750 position and she was nowhere near the back)
Age cat position: 113th

Got back from the Liverpool half marathon 30 minutes ago and I'm really pleased with my time. I got a personal best of 1 hour 50 minutes and 50 seconds, so well under 2 hours.

I have always wanted to get 1 hour 50 but never quite ran quick enough, my personal best before today was 1 hour 52 minutes in the Ramsey half marathon.

I was optamistic this morning. I slept well and decided to wear a pace making bracelet thing - a time of 1 hour 50 mins - it shows what time you have to be at, for each and every mile. My mum thought I was aiming to high and didn't think I would be able to achieve it. (So did I, to be honest, but I thought I might push my self harder this way, and the plan worked. So much for not worrying about time).

I was worried that perhaps I was running to fast in the first half and I'd soon run out of steam, but I didn't, the only thing that did bother me, however, was the heat (believe it or not, but it felt too hot and I wore trousers) and my shoes felt a bit flat.

Also, on the 7th mile (I'd ran exactly 1 hour at this point) the inside of my left ankle and up my leg slightly, was painful everytime I put weight on it. After 2 miles it gave in and I heard a loud click - it hurt so much that I actually said "ouch" out loud and I couldn't put my full weight on that leg for about 5 strides and after that it was perfectly fine again. It's not the first time I have experienced this and I'm not sure what it is or even what bone or muscle is it?

When I did finish the race, I had enough time to get a shower in my hotel room before I had to be checked out by 12pm. I felt fine at first, obviously tired and maybe a bit dizzy from suddenly stopping but certainly not sick, but after my shower and waiting 5 minues for mum, I suddenly started feeling queezy and sick. Turned out it was just because I was so hungary, as soon as I had a jacket potatoe, 2 bottles of lucadaze, chocolate and energy bars, oh and bannanas, I was fine. Honestly, I'm really small in height and quite thin, but I have to eat so much, people wonder where I put it. But I honestly feel that my body needs the food. and if I let myself get too hungary I start feeling sick. My mum doesn't get that at all, she did the half marathon and only nibbled up until tea. Whilst I also had a toastee at the airport and another jacket potatoe at home. (I must just have a really fast matabolism.)

I saw 2 people in fancy dress, one person was all the way from Australia and was wearing crickit gear and was also carrying the bat. He was very near the back. I also saw a man about 3 miles in front of me wearing a blow up baby costume which must have been 3 meters tall. It's so demorolising when you see someone in a fancy dress costume so dramatic as that beating you by such a long way. (alot of the routes go back on yourself so you can see people infront and behind)

Whilst shopping yesterday, I ended up buying a pair of trainers that I will wear on the parish. It was Asics, Kayano, 15. I also have the Asics, Kayano, 14. I will wear one pair of those trainers for the Parish and bring the other one in the car incase I feel like chaging trainers. (I read somewhere that if you have really bad blisters, changing trainers sometimes helps because there are different pressure points.) Both shoes will have added insoles for comfort. I also bought rehydration tablets that you put in 500ml of water, along with 3 more pairs of socks, two liners and one outer layer sock. So the Parish has been quite expensive for me! But it means so much to me that I want to try everything. If I do fail, at least I won't have any regrets such as, I didn't train, I didn't have comfy shoes, socks, clothing (etc). Saying that, back when the Parish first started, people used to complete the walk in work clothes and work shoes. I just don't know how they did it? Maybe thats something worth thinking about when you feel like giving up? We have got a hugh advantage.

Not really sure what I'm going to do this week - training wise, so i'll just play it by ear. In the mean time, I'm really looking forward to sleeping!

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Feeling tired from over doing it.

I was planning to walk 3-4 hours this morning before meeting some friends in town. However, after working hard everyday for almost 2 weeks, it's starting to catch up on me and my legs feel very tired and heavy.

I noticed it considerably yesterday. After work, I caught a bus to Peel from Douglas and I ran to Kirk Michael. I think it was 7 Miles. I couldn't tell you how long it took because my stop watch stopped half way through. All I do know, is I felt slow and it was because my legs were so tired from pushing myself in previous workouts. It didn't help that I was really hungry and had little energy. Also, when my I-Pod ran out of battery, I wasn't best pleased. But I actually found it quite nice listening to almost silence (apart from the odd vehicle). I also look at the scenery more when I haven't got music. I remember watching 20-30 rabbits running in a field.

I've only ever got the bus to Peel and ran to Kirk Michael straight after work once before. Although it's nice to do and convenient it is also inconvenient at the same time because I have to pack all my running stuff and bring it to work and then I need to leave my work stuff at work and carry all necessary items with me - like purse, mobile, i-pod, house keys. So all this stuff is jiggling in my pockets which is annoying. The bus also leaves at 17:10, so I have to finish work bang on 5, get changed and leg it to the bus stop within 10 minutes. It used to bother me being in proper running gear for everyone at work to see and the have to catch a bus like that. But I'm much more confidant now and I don't care. I'm just doing what I want to do.

Yesterday night, (like most nights actually) as soon as my head hits the pillow I am asleep. That's one of many things I like about being active. There was a time at school - when doing my A-Levels, that I stopped doing exercise because my friend who I used to always run with and swim with and do everything sports related with went to Uni. I started not being able to sleep, eventually it got so bad I was only sleeping 1 hour a night and I tried to catch up on my sleep during the day but I couldn't sleep then either. I tried everything, herbal remadies, hot milk, lavender, having a bath before bed. Nothing worked. It really effected my school work, it was such bad timing, because I really cannot cope without sleep. The day I started sleeping well again was when my mum encouraged me to get out of bed and go for a run. At the time, I didn't feel like she understood how tired I was. It's a vicious circle, if you are tired and drained from lack of sleep, the last thing you feel like doing is exercise. However, mum encouraged me to run, explaining that nothing else was working and I might as well give it a go to tire my body out not just my eyes. That night, I slept like a baby, the first time in Months and that is a major reason I do exercise, I am just very fortunate that I also enjoy it.

I cannot cope with little sleep, everyone else seems to be able to handle it a lot better than me. If I go out with my friends in the evening, I'm always the first one to go home because I feel very tired - probably from some form of exercise I did earlier that day, and I don't want to be tired the next day either. Quite often, I like to be home before 12 and that's even a late night for me. It's just as well I didn't go to uni, I wouldn't have fitted in at all. It's just nice that my friends are great and they know what I'm like so they don't mind me going home.

When I do the Parish walk, I'm going to have to be up all day and night - walking. I pray that I can handle it. I'm hoping that if your active, it's different - my determination and passion for the Parish will kick in and overcome my tiredness? When I was 13 years old, I did the moon walk in London which is a 26 mile road walk. The event is held once a year and it to raise funds for breast cancer. Everyone, including men wear just a bra or a bra over the top of their clothes (which I did). This walk starts at 12pm and I remember being so tired at the beginning of the walk. In total, it took us 10 hours to complete this walk. I am aware that this is incredibly slow.....when I took part in this event, 8 years ago, it was very unorganised. Their were crowds of people trying to funnel through narrow streets. It took us 1 hour to walk the first mile. I remember leaning on bricked walls closing my eyes at every opportunity I had (which was quite a lot) because I was so tired. I don't think we started walking at our usual pace until we got to mile 4. Once we got going, I was fine and I started waking up, so I'm hoping this will apply for the Parish as well. (If anyone is taking part or is considering to take part in the moonwalk, I've been told that the organisation is alot better and the streets are much wider and the slow start doesn't exist anymore.)

I'll explain why my legs are so tired now - I've already mentioned that I've done training everyday since coming back from holiday. Since my last update, I met up with a group of people to go running with and it was supposed to be an easy session. We were only supposed to jog 3 miles. However, I ended up running at the front of the pack and then kept up with the 3 fastest people. It was reasonably comfortable running to the prom from the NSC and along the prom to the villa marina, but the pace increased from bottom of Broadway all the way to the the top of the hill at St Ninians. I really worked up the hill trying to keep up with the people I was with, knowing if I fell behind, I'd be running on my own because the rest were a while behind us. From here, we were supposed to jog directly back to the NSC. However, we had to make it harder for ourselves again and we ran a longer way by heading to the test centre, to the hospital and back to the NSC. I was running flat out, harder than I have ever before. I was really chuffed that I managed to keep up. I have no idea what speed we were running, it would have been interesting to know.

On Tuesday, I walked with a friend - Jenny. We walked straight after work at 5 for about 2 hours. We walked along Marine Drive all the way to Port Sodrick and then headed back where it leads to the back of Tesco's. From here I walked home. I much prefer having company on walks, although I go slightly slower, the time goes so fast.

On Wednesday, I ran 6 miles, taking it easy-ish for the first 3 miles (except stopping for the toilets on the prom and having to sprint to catch up with everyone) The last three miles were harder because the people ahead of me were speeding up and I felt obliged to catch them up which I did just in the nick of time. I actually overtook another runner along the grandstand -who was going at a reasonable pace - I felt good about that.

The following day, I went for a walk, straight after work, but on my own this time. Jenny had a hairdressers appointment, so she couldn't make it. I got back at 8pm so I did 3 hours. I walked along Portsodrick, I then followed the road which takes you by B&Q area, I then ended up by Kirby Garden Centre and back at the NSC. I was tempted to walk directly home from here, but I felt good and was enjoying the walk so I decided to carry on. From here I walked to the prom along the prom, up Summer hill and back home. During this walk - near the end of the prom, I missed an important phone call which I was eager to get back home and return the call (as I had no money on my mobile).

I'm really enjoying the lighter evenings and I sence that my full length trousers can soon hibernate again and I can bring out my shorts and t-shirt instead. I am also much prefering to go for a walk straight after work. It means having an hour extra to relax at home, so your walking is done quicker and as such your evening feels longer. I have been eating my homemade energy bars which I think work very well. I've finished the last energy bar yesterday (I'm not sure if my brothers and sisters have been taking them for themselves, because they have seemed to disappeared very quickly?) I'll try and make some more over the weekend, this time, adding more dried fruit and an extra table spoon of honey, maybe, slightly less flour and a touch more Orange juice. I feel the energy bar really worked for me, so I will continue making it and eating it.

I'm going to take it easy today and I'll see how I feel tomorrow. I really should take it easy this week because I have the Liverpool half marathon next Sunday. The last time I ran a half marathon distance was last September which was The Great North Run in Newcastle. I haven't really been running the distances I should but I have done a lot of running recently so I should be fine. I should easily be able to complete it in under 2 hours, so if I don't I'll be disappointed but I'm going to try not and look at my watch and just enjoy my self. In a way, I see it as training for the full marathon which I'll do next year and I'll concentrate on after the Parish.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Feeling good!

I've really enjoyed my first week on the Island since coming back from holiday. I've done exercise 6 days on the trot so far and I feel really good for it. At the moment I feel really fit and healthy and when I feel like that it makes me want to do even more exercise because I enjoy it so much.

Yesterday, I met my friends in town so I walked there and back like I usually do. However, this time I decided to wear these weights that you wrap around your ankles. Each weight is half a stone, so in total, I was 1 stone heavier. As usual, my friends thought I was mad but why not make the most of it?

Whilst I was walking home, I really wanted to go out running, I remember picking up the pace so that I would be home quicker and therefore be running sooner. Also, I didn't have much time because I was going to a friends house later that night. As soon as I got home, I ran up the stairs to ask mum whether she wanted to come with me -I didn't care what speed I went, I just wanted to run. As it turned out, mum did want to join me, but I wouldn't have minded either way. I was going to run regardless - I'd made up my mind a while ago.

Mum and I ran a different route to usual. We ran to Onchan and through a countryside road and back home. We ran for 1 hour but the pace was easy, I didn't feel tired at the end. Whilst running with mum, I'll say something along the line of "you set the pace, I'm scared of going to fast." Mum jokingly gets annoyed because she hates the fact that I can chose to have a hard run and a rest run like this one was for me.

Whilst running, I saw a group of walkers and one of them recognised me and shouted across that they love my blog. To be honest, I'm doing the blog more for myself, but if people are enjoying reading it, then that's fantastic. I've had a couple of people I don't know approach me and say really nice things about my blog and wishing me luck and I think that's really nice.

After the Parish I intend to run a Marathon. I'm planning to apply for the London Marathon, for the 4th time, I if I don't get in again, I'll do a different Marathon, perhaps Paris or maybe a country I haven't been to yet? I joke to mum that I'll get a sub 4 first time, something that mum has always wanted to do but not quite reached it. Mum must have done over 20 marathons and her personal best is 4 hours 3 minutes.

Today, I met a few people at the Snaefell Bungalow and went for a run in the hills. I say run, although we also walked a lot of it! The route we did is the same race that is taking place next Saturday at 2pm. It involves running up Snaefell itself. To be honest, I'm rubbish at fell running. I have no sense of direction, I am guaranteed to get lost, if on my own and I have no idea how to read a map or use a compass. We did the route to practise for next Saturday's race. But I still think I'd get lost-even on a clear day, like today. I was given loads of tips like-head to that tree (etc) but I found it difficult to head to objects in the distance whilst running because I have to look at the ground all the time and concentrate, as to not fall over or twist an ankle.
Also, I'm honestly useless at running down hill. In fact, I can't do it, I might as well walk, it might possibly be quicker?! (It probably doesn't help the fact that I haven't got any fell running shoes, I just used my ordinary road running shoes). I much prefer to run up hill than down hill, although it's physically harder, at least I have the will power to keep going. I noticed, that out of the group I was with a tended to lead the uphills but tailed behind in the down hills.

I haven't got the guts to throw myself down a hill. I know your supposed to relax but I tried this and actually did fall over a couple of times and scared myself. Although, when I was younger, my brothers and sister used to race each other up and down Snaefell from the bungalow. We even had a stopwatch and recorded our times and tried to beat it. I can't ever remember being scared of the down hill part and I think I did used to throw myself down it. But I think your less scared as a child and I my competitiveness probably took over.

I almost forgot to mention, I'm in the middle of making some homemade energy bars. (We haven't got any raw eggs in the house so I need to wait until mum goes shopping later today to finish them off. I'll eat them on my walks this week. I want to test how successful they are (as in, will they actually stick together or will the oats crumble apart and make it hard to eat?) I hope it does work because I want to make a load for the Parish Walk day.

At the moment, every time I go for a walk, I always try and eat something, despite the relatively short distance (8-10 miles) I want to get my body used to eating whilst moving, something I've never enjoyed doing. I usually force it down me. Something I'm not looking forward too. I'm hoping that if I at least eat one thing every time I walk, this might change?

Bring on next week!

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Back from holiday already?

First week back from holiday and already it feels as if I hadn't gone at all!

The holiday was brilliant, it was different and I was active quite alot on the first week in Bulgaria because I did skiing. I could feel my thighs and calf muscles working. Thank god I didn't get any injuries! Although at times, it was a close shave. At one point my sister and I collided and my brother (who is much more advanced) had to sort our tangle out - I remember him shouting at us not to move or one of us would break a foot.

Whilst in Bulgaria I read Paula Radcliffe's autobiography which was really good. It made me want to go out running myself, but the conditions made it impossible as it would have been far to slippery with all the ice and snow.

If anyone needs any motivation, Paula Radcliffe's autobiography is the book to read. It really made me want to run as hard as I could. If only I'd been on the Island when I read it?

I did however make time for a 1 hour 30 minute walk with my parents through the forest which was really pretty. I did this because I was going to see an orphanage in the afternoon where my sponsored child lives and therefore didn't have time to ski in the morning. The walk wasn't very fast though, I was wearing snow boots with about 4 layers of clothes on.

Later on in the week we also walked to a restaurant which was half an hour away. But other than skiing, that was as far as the exercise went.

I spent the second week in one of my best friends parents house in Tenerife. This week was nice to relax after skiing and I appreciated the sun a lot more after coming from such a cold country. By this point though, I was itching to run again and there was a lovely promenade which was very popular for runners and walkers. I managed to fit in 2 runs, both 1 hours 30 minutes long. Back home I would normally struggle to go out for that long but because the scenery was so nice and different, I thoroughly enjoyed it and could have happily ran for longer. I did notice, however, that I was running much slower than usual but that was because their were steep inclines as well as the heat.

Some people would think I'm mad to want to run whilst on holiday but I can't sit still and have to be active or I become really restless.

My friend and I actually did cover a fair few miles everyday walking to place to place. Some days, we walked up to 2 hours, although, it felt very slow, some times, uncomfortably slow so it probably wasn't beneficial. (Although, we weren't out training, we were having a strol) It might have helped keeping the legs ticking over?

I returned back to the Island Sunday night and although I would have liked to get back into normal routine on Monday I thought I better not. I had some catching up to do with my family and friends.

Tuesday, however, I planned to go out for a walk which I was looking forward to because I hadn't been on a brisk walk in a while. I managed to walk just over 2 hours before dance class.

On Wednesday I went to Nobles Park and found a circuit about 500 meters long. I ran this circuit as fast as possible 5 times with a 2 and a half minute break between each set. My legs felt very heavy during this training session and I struggled. I didn't feel as fast as usual. Maybe because I've had a break from hard training sessions from being on holiday?

I've just got back from a 2 hour and 30 minute walk. I met up with a friend called Jenny who I met through another friend. I found out that she too does the Parish each year and we decided to meet up and go for a walk together. I really enjoyed the walk, it went so fast I couldn't believe it when I looked at my watch. We were perhaps walking a tad slower than what I would have done if I was on my own but the point is, I really enjoyed her company and I'm sure it's done me good.

One thing I have found out since coming back to the Island is the route and distance for the Fire Station Challenge event has completely changed. Apparently the route is only 30 miles and the walk starts in Peel and ends in Ramsey. I am actually very disapointed in this because the old route which covers 50 miles would have been a great test to how I would feel come Parish walk day. I was hoping that this years firestation challenge would prove easier because of all the training I've put in which I hahn't previously done. 30 miles will still be excellant training but I would be lieing if I said I wasn't disappointed.

On the plus side, I have just entered for the Isle of Man Walking Festivel which takes place on the second week of May. You walk about 20 miles a day for 5 days in a row and you walk around the Isle of Man following the way of the gull sign posts. Everyone meets at the Villa Marina and a bus takes us back to the villa marina at the end of the day. On top of walking 20 miles, I might add an extra 4 miles byt walking to and from the Villa! The event costs £60 and I've had to take time off work. For me, this works really well, because it will get me out walking reasonably long distances whilst having company. It will also give me some confidence for the Parish as it is only a Month before hand.