Running goals and things I’m loving

In the aim of continuing some positivity, I’ve got another rantless post Smile

Running: Ahh running, you little sneaky demon, you. My relationship with running is always up and down. I train well, I run as much as I like, maybe I PB (not all the time – in fact, quite rarely!), I get injured, I’m forced to stop running… But I’m currently at a peak. Running (*touch wood*) is going well. Though I’m not running particularly fast (I’d need to do actual training rather than my “whatever pace” miles…), I’m loving it.

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It’s amazing how much I’ve changed over the years. When I first started running it was purely to keep fit and healthy, then I joined a running club and wanted to RACE ALL THE RACES. This quickly caused me to get injured and get frustrated with myself and my abilities. After many, many injury cycles (mostly of my own idiocy and training bloopers) I’m now at a place where I rarely RACE a race. Or indeed, do many races. I fell in love with the marathon. Just completing a marathon for me is the dream. PBs are superficial bonuses. I have vague lofty marathon time goals to achieve at some point (realistic to my ability and my willingness to really put some hard graft into training) but really just to tick off different marathons is the goal. And ultimately do all the Marathon Majors (Berlin, Boston, London, Tokyo, Chicago and New York).

And this is very similar to parkrun. I can’t see me ever trying to go sub-20 minutes any time soon. Again this requires some hard training and I’m not ready or inclined to put that effort in for a goal that I frankly don’t care too much about. But 20+ different parkruns? Now that’s a cool goal I can get on board with. My friend Adi also mentioned the ABC of parkruns (running a parkrun for every letter in the alphabet). That sounds like fun too… though I have a way to go (I haven’t even done ‘A’!).

So that turned into a bit of a free-wheeling reflection!

My dad: I’ve often mentioned that my dad’s been trying to lose weight. He’s been occasionally going to parkrun but finds it very tough as he’s quite overweight. 5km is a long way to walk when you haven’t been doing much in the way of exercise and you have a lot of weight to carry around with you, especially the impact on your joints. Though I’m so proud of him for doing it, it’s not the best way for him to lose weight (at the moment).

My mum joined Slimming World a go while ago and has lost a stone (and counting). Finally my dad has decided to join as well. My dad knows the food that causes him an issue. He knows his problem zones and he’s not as nutritionally unaware as my mum is (no offence to my mum, but she is). But going to a meeting every week to get weighed and, in a way, explaining himself to a group is far more motivating than having only himself to justify his weight to. He can track and motivate himself, knowing that what he does in the week will be reflected on the Saturday morning weigh-in. Though I do have issues with companies like Slimming World and Weight Watchers in the ways they create a certain dogma about food and their products are all “low fat” but full of crap and sugar. But that said, it is the easiest way for my parents in a world that is so saturated with nutritional information, myths and fallacies.

And in an effort to do more exercise in a way that is less impacting on his joints for the moment (he’ll be going back to parkrun when he’s lost half a stone), he cycled alongside me on my 3.5 mile run on Sunday.

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It was fairly windy but he survived. Three and a half miles might sound like absolute peanuts to any regular cyclist, but this was perfect for my dad. He found it tough and it worked him hard, but didn’t ruin him or his joints for the day. I’m so proud of him.

Savse Smoothies: I was recently sent some Savse smoothies to review. I’ll do a proper post on them another time, but over the weekend when I was trying a few and taking some photos I had a bit of a photo bomb issue…

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Bless Alfie, he just wanted to get involved Winking smile

Awesome Supplements: Talking about reviews, I’ve recently been trying out some Awesome Supplements. I bought them myself and wasn’t compensated in any way for this review. I just thought I’d share my experiences.

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They’re made by Ben Coomber, who I really respect. The ethos behind the supplements is something I can really get on board with. They argue that supplements will only really make 5-10% difference to your health and training. Really you have to get the foundations nailed down first (nutrition, sleep, training, etc.). All the products are backed by scientific research and the doses within the products are clinically significant doses comparable to those studies.

So what did I get and how did I find them?

Daily Dose

It’s essentially a high strength fish oil and a multivitamin, containing:

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The reason why this appealed to much to me was because I always take a fish oil supplement anyway and I’ve previously been considering a zinc and magnesium product to help with recovery. But most of the Zinc and Magnesium products out there aren’t the best quality. For example, Zinc Citrate is far better than Zinc Sulphate or Zinc Gluconate, which are cheaper but have less actual zinc in them. The rationale behind each vitamin included and the percentage of it is well thought out and rationalised (Coomber links to Examiner.com).

The downside is that it is expensive (£35 for 360 capsules). For the quantity and quality it has to be. And not only this but you have to take 12 capsules a day. That’s a lot of tablets obviously (though they are small and easy to take). It’s advised to take six in the morning and six in the evening to break it up. But I don’t feel like I’m being duped or taken for a ride. I feel like the product justifies the price. I do eat healthily but I’m a stickler for keeping with the same foods and I feel like this just tops me up with some things I might be missing.

Electrolytes

I’m a big fan of electrolytes in general. I love nuun and High5. I’m not a fan of carb-based drinks that contain electrolytes as they’re often sickly sweet and not refreshing at all. When I was at the Body Type Nutrition Retreat, Ben Coomber (who organised it) brought along a load of his products for us to try out while we were there. I tried out the electrolytes and fell in love. The taste is really good. Like really good.

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The ingredients: Electrolyte blend (Potassium sulphate, calcium citrate, di-potassium phosphate, magnesium oxide, sodium chloride), dextrose monohydrate, flavouring, malic acid, citric acid, colouring (turmeric), sucralose.

And it’s 20 calories per serving. And a tub is only £8 for 250g.

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Why are electrolytes important? Well, they basically keep you hydrated above and beyond what plain water would do. It allows your muscles to absorb liquid and reduce cramp and hyponatremia (where you lose far too much salt through sweating and your body can’t regular it’s level properly).

During this hot weather I always drink electrolytes before and after running. I sometimes fill my water bottles as well and take them with me. The flavour reminds me of sherbet lemons. It’s very orangey and tangy. It’s about the strength of squash, rather than the very weak flavours of High5 and nuun, which always annoyed me a bit. This is a game changer for me. I love it. I also like that you can dictate the serving size. Have a huge water bottle? Put a bigger scoop of it in. Just fancy a very small drink? Do half a serving. Though obviously it’s not as easy to transport as the electrolyte tabs (in their handy Durex wrappers Winking smile). But you could always put it in a container to take with you.

Recovery Spray

I’ve been wanting this for a while. Basically each ml provides 300mg of magnesium and 10mg zinc. Doing intensive exercise depletes our magnesium and zinc levels which are essential for good performance and energy levels. This spray is applied directly to the muscles and reduces the feelings of DOMs (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).

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I get really bad DOMs after squats and hip thrusters after the gym. And this is annoying because I’ll want to run the day after and I feel like I’m hobbling along. I need to go to the gym to keep myself strong for running but it feels horrific…catch 22. I tested this out by spraying one leg and, er, cheek and not the other.

Honestly, the difference was incredible. (Incredibly annoying incidentally because it meant I was a bit unbalanced but it showed how much of a difference it can make). While one leg and bum cheek was still feeling the effects of the day before, the other leg and cheek were far fresher! Not 100% amazing of course, but markedly better than the other. It’s so simple as well. You spray it onto the skin, rub it in a bit, wait three minutes, shower it off. Boom.

Really chuffed with these three products and fully recommend!

What products have you been loving lately?

Do you take any supplements or use electrolytes?

Are you a smoothie fan? What’s your favourite flavour?

What I’m Loving Lately

I started out writing this post as a Rants and Raves post…until I realised I actually didn’t have anything to rant about. This is obviously a good thing! So instead, here’s what I’m loving lately.

The Olympics: I’m quite sad that the Olympics is over. I must admit I was a bit late on jumping on the band wagon. It didn’t help that some of the stuff I would have watched (Mo’s races, Usain Bolt and the heptathlon) were in the middle of the night. It’s really not my thing to set an alarm and stay up to watch things. I like my sleep too much!

I did, however, watch both triathlons. Is it wrong to say I find them more interesting than regular running races because a bit more happens (oh the drama of the transitions and the different strengths involved)? The Brownlee brothers were amazing but the women’s race was quite tense! I watched the men’s marathon as well and thought it was hilarious when Meb Keflezighi fell over right on the finish line and then started doing press-ups! What a great save of face.

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Rave: Finding new podcasts. I love my current favourite podcasts but I’ve been zipping through them really quickly on dog walks, driving to and from work and while cooking/cleaning. My two new additions are TED Radio Hour and Stuff You Should Know. Again, so late in the game with Ted Talks (I’m like a lost sheep… I will eventually follow the flock but only after they’ve left and headed way up the hill).

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I love the TED Radio Hour because it has an overriding theme. It discusses several different talks that relate to the theme the host interviews the different TED talkers so we hear a bit more detail. It’s very good. One I listened to the other day was called Brand Over Brain and it was so interesting. I’m trying to pace myself through them but it’s tough.

The Stuff You Should Know is great for more focused information on one specific subject. For example, I listened to a podcast all about caffeine the other day which was cool. The two guys also have very soothing, smooth American voices which are very calming!

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To be honest, I could listen to them discuss anything. Case and point: I listened to them discuss the differences between jelly fish and octopi. Honestly, my brain is going to explode with information Winking smile

Books: On a similar knowledge-seeking vein, I’ve just finished The Calorie Myth by Jonathan Bailor (as an audio book). It started off really interesting and I was fully on board with what he was saying… Things like going really low in calories isn’t the best way to lose weight and how eating more food of better quality actually regulates your metabolism, set-point and hormones and losing weight becomes easier. Obviously I’m not looking to lose weight but I find books like this very interesting. I get so annoyed when I read about diets touting 1,200 calories as the “golden number” and this book gave more insight into why those diets don’t work in the long-term. There was lots of science and clinical studies to back things up which made it very compelling.

However, I struggled a bit with the overall guidelines and mandates of the book. He dismissed “jogging” in a big way and claimed only 20 minutes of resistance exercise each week was enough. OK, I fully agree that exercise isn’t essential for weight loss. It’s a tool and can help speed up the process. And our body’s aren’t stupid, we adapt. That three mile run you did last week will have less of an effect this week because your body is adapting and finding sneaky ways of making it easier (biologically speaking). And anyone who’s trained for a marathon knows that it’s not the way to lose weight. If anything, you put on weight. More miles does not mean more weight loss. But to dismiss it outright… hmm. OK it won’t make you lose weight but there are so many more health benefits (physical, social and mental) that are given. But it was an interesting read.

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The book I’m currently reading I actually heard about through the Marathon Talk podcast. Tom Williams, one of the presenters, mentioned it in passing. It’s called Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. The tagline is “The Surprising Truth About Success”. I’m not one for self-help books but it didn’t seem like that kind of spiel. And it isn’t. The title refers to the black boxes found in planes and how when a plane crashes or has a problem, the reasons behind it can be fully examined afterwards and we can learn from those mistakes.

This is not the case in other industries however. For example, in healthcare mistakes are not examined as thoroughly. An accident in surgery can be swept under the carpet as a “something that happens” or “an unfortunate complication”. Not because doctors and healthcare workers are dishonest or stupid, but because of culture and psychology. It’s a fascinating book and I fully recommend it. It also makes me never want to go to hospital again!

Workouts: Asides from running (see my last post), I’m still going to the gym and working on my strength. I do three strength sessions a week. One session is focused on glutes and legs, one on shoulders, arms and chest, and the third on my back with running-specific exercises and core work thrown in here and there. I’m also going to spin on Fridays when I can. This was originally because a cute guy started to do it (yes, I’m that sad and clearly I’m at my most attractive covered in sweat, ha!) but I’m now going because I enjoy it.

With running I’m not really doing any intense speed sessions because marathon training is hard enough coming back from injury and not having enough time. I’ve dabbled a bit with some harder effort parkruns and a fartlek session but otherwise it’s just getting the miles in to sort my endurance out. I’m not expecting a fast time for Chester after coping with that hamstring thing for so long it sort of shot down those hopes. So to just get through this training and the race itself without injury is good enough for me!

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So spinning. It’s a great way for me to get that quick leg turnover and fast speed workout in without the impact and injury-risk that a hard running speed session could pose for me. It was also nice to see the friend face of fellow Southampton runner, Ruth, as well.

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She used to write a blog (not sure she does anymore!) and that’s how we connected. Interestingly enough was suffering from a similar hamstring issue to me. It was lovely to have company while spinning (though she’s a spinning extraordinaire and put me to shame).

What workouts do you do in a week?

What podcasts do you listen to?

What books have you enjoyed recently?

5 Great Cycling Destinations in North Wales

Happy Friday everyone! I have a great guest post today all about cycling and in such a beautiful part of the UK, North Wales.

Cycling is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK, and we’re lucky to have a nation covered in quality cycling routes. Combined with North Wales’ popularity as a family holiday destination, you can’t go wrong planning a cycling trip in the area. Get yourself a holiday cottage in Snowdonia and spend a weekend, or maybe a bit longer, on your bike in the beautiful Welsh hills.

Chester to Holyhead

Chester and Holyhead are already worthy destinations in their own rights – and for cycling fans there’s a really charming, but quite challenging, ride between the two. You have a multiple options along the way: National Cycle Routes 5 and 8 are available at various times, or you can hop off the main roads and take a scenic detour to avoid traffic. Strong cyclists are required for this route, as it takes up to eight or nine hours to complete in a day.

Coed y Brenin

For mountain bike enthusiasts, Coed y Brenin is kind of the big one. It hosts a huge network of mountain biking routes of varied levels of difficulty. We recommend trying the Tarw Trail, if you’re an experienced mountain bike rider, a reasonably tough trail that starts off quite easy but, over the course of the ride, accelerates you into twisted rocky corners and some challenging terrain cambers. If you’re not a technically skilled rider, there are plenty of other options in the area.

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Dolgellau to Barmouth

If you’re interested in a more family friendly experience, the Mawddach Trail is a great bet. Both ends of the course lead to plenty of parking, cafés, and bike hire facilities. The ride itself is spectacularly scenic, giving you views of Southern Snowdonia and the gorgeous Mawddach estuary. The route is 9.5 miles long, so younger riders need not be overtaxed by taking in the whole route. If you plan a trip, don’t miss the iconic bridge railway at the Barmouth end.

Note: The flat, paved terrain and traffic-free ride make this a great route for any wheelchair users, or for disabled cyclists to build confidence before taking on other routes.

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Talacre to Penmaenmawr

Forming part of National Cycle Route 5, the bike path between Talacre and Penmaenmawr is a charming coastal course. You’ll pass through Prestatyn, Rhyl, Colwyn Bay, Conwy, Llanddulas, and more. The full route is 34 miles, so a competent rider should be able to complete the round trip in a day quite happily.

Caernarfon to Bryncir

The trip from Caernarfon to Bryncir is a 12.5 mile stretch of scenic cycling on a section of National Cycle Route 8. You’ll be skirting the edges of Snowdonia with some wonderful vistas of nearby ridges and the occasional glimpse of Mt Snowdon over the hills. An usually-wide bike path with good tarmac, you’ll have wonderful views of the sea as you descend towards the ocean overlooking the Lleyn mountains.

If you’re screaming at your monitor because you can’t believe we left out your favourite route, let us know in the comments!

Do you do much cycling?

Have you ever been to North Wales?

Mountain bikes or road bikes?

The most sensible route to take

Continuing on from my trip to North Wales recap…I’d planned to run 18 miles on the Sunday. My grandad, the legend that he is, had said he’d cycle alongside me while I ran.

Before the trip I previously asked his advice on where to find a good running route for the 18 miles I needed to run and he came back with a fantastic route (below) that was comparable to the Boston marathon elevation. My grandfather is truly inspiring. He’s 83 years old and used to be a mountain climber and mountain guide, but is still very active cycling, playing golf or walking most days. One of his most exciting jobs back in the day was taking 40 SAS men out to whittle them down to the 10 best leaders during a gruelling week’s worth of outdoor activities and traversing the 15 peaks of North Wales (which my grandad did in just one minute over nine hours!).

Boston marathon prep

So my grandad is in great shape and knows his stuff when it comes to being outdoors. On Sunday morning I joined my family for breakfast while they all had normal stuff while I munched on a tasty, albeit rather sad, Trek bar and black coffee.IMG_8373

I would have much preferred a hot bowl of porridge but that would have meant getting up a lot earlier to allow it to digest. After quite a big meal the night before I was happy enough to settle for something small instead and get more sleep.

Ginny, my step-gran, was quite worried about my grandad going out with me as it was very cold and windy but my grandad had his plan and felt confident. He had on lots of layers (as he’d be cycling alongside me at my running pace, so fairly slowly as a cycling pace) and a rucksack with snacks, drinks and First Aid.

Ginny drove us up to to our starting point at the Great Orme and we got ourselves together.

IMG_8375Sorting the bike out

I did my warm-up routine (leg swings and lunges etc.) while I was waiting and then decided to hop back into the car as it was very cold and windy at this elevation.

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My grandad had sent me the route before the weekend and had talked it through with me, but I was still a little nervous in case I got lost if he decided to speed on ahead or turn back because of the cold. He said once we saw the sea though it was really straight forward: keep the sea on my left and continue along the path all the way to 18 miles. Even I can handle that!

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We set off straight away with a fairly steep downhill for the first couple of miles. This is very similar to Boston so was a good test for me to hold myself back and not go crazy burning myself out for the following miles.IMG_8380

I took it nice and gentle and my grandad chatted away to me. It was really nice having the company. My grandad remarked that he was like a boxing coach cycling with me! It did seem like that way – he was able to chat away quite easily and though I could talk too it was harder for me than him. The wind though was tough going and we soon realised it would be against us the entire way.

Despite the cold wind, the views coming down the Great Orme were fantastic. It’s such a beautiful part of Britain I can’t believe more people don’t come here. Llandudno is somewhat touristy but not as much as it deserves considering all the natural beauty it has to offer.IMG_8379

After the first couple of miles I started feeling a bit of discomfort in my left foot, just under the arch. It felt like something was sticking in to my foot or that my trainer wasn’t hugely comfortable. As it wasn’t painful I just ignored it, thinking of stopping at some point to maybe have a fiddle and readjust.

We got to the Llandudno promenade and the wind was really tough going now. My pace was forced to slow. My grandad said he was going to make sure he wasn’t drafting me as that would be unfair training… I value that now but at the time in the thick of the wind I didn’t appreciate this Winking smile When training is hard it means racing is easier!

Anyway, the wind slowed my grandad down and he dropped behind me. It’s harder to cycle into the wind than to run due to the surface area and weight I guess. I just wanted to get off the direct seafront as quickly as possible so powered on. As soon as I reached the end of the prom though I reached a hill. It was tough going! As my grandad was a distance behind I decided to take the time to check my foot out. I stopped and took my trainer off, fiddled around, felt my foot (slight niggle spot where it felt like it had been rubbing) and then put it back on and retied it back up slightly looser.

The niggle disappeared for a bit so I felt a bit happier. My grandad caught me back up and we carried on along another part of the seafront, again against the wind, but at least back on the flat.

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Ginny appeared occasionally alongside us in the car to check how my grandad was doing – which was very sweet but I think exasperated my grandad a little. He’s very driven, so when he plans to do something he gives it his all to complete it.IMG_8384

The miles ticked by. The foot niggle reappeared and I started to worry. It was annoying me and I couldn’t seem to shake it. Eventually my grandad called it a day with cycling as the wind was so relentless and Ginny was persistent that he’d get cold cycling so slowly alongside me. I think he stopped around 10 miles. Ginny had stopped ahead and we could see the boot was open, basically her saying, “End of the road. Time to stop”. Hehe. In the distance I could see where I was heading (Rhyl) as the route just wrapped along the seafront so I was in no danger of getting lost. But now that I was alone I felt the demons come into my head.

This foot niggle… what was it? Was it serious? Was I making it worse running? Should I try and get to the end regardless? Would my grandparents think I failed?

After a mile of umm’ing and arr’ing I decided that the best thing to do was stop. The niggle wasn’t going away and 7-8 more miles of running on it wouldn’t help at all and could compromise later weeks of training. I rang my grandparents and they said they’d meet me at the next car park as I was now on an enclosed cycle/walkway away from the road. When I got there I sat down, took my trainer off and poked and prodded. Hmm, very tender and painful if I poked hard.

A man started walking over to me, quickly saying “don’t worry, I’m not trying to chat you up! I think I know what’s happening here though”. He looked vaguely familiar. “Running injury?” he asked. I nodded sadly. “I’ve been there many times! I’m a past runner too.”

He gave me some solid advice about icing and elevating. He also kindly offered me a phone or a lift but I assured him I had people coming for me. I asked about his running and he said he doesn’t run as much anymore now he was a bit older but he likes to stay involved through race photography. Ah ha! I knew where I’d seen him before. I mentioned that I ran Conwy parkrun the day before and he smiled and said he’d been the photographer there. What a small world! It was lovely to chat to him.

Then my grandparents picked me up. I felt like a huge failure and had a huge amount of disappointment for not completing the entire 18 miles. My grandad was frustrated too as he had wanted a good cycle as well but found the wind just too much in the end.

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I managed 12 miles in the end (8.38min/mile pace) which were tough in the wind and mentally tough with all the injury fears flowing through my mind. I’m actually quite grateful for the wind because I think if it had been a perfectly still day my choice for stopping might not have happened as soon, if at all. The wind had mentally drained me and not having my grandad alongside me wasn’t as fun.

I know I did the right thing stopping. I don’t believe I have an injury, I reckon it’s a niggle that might take a few days or possibly a week of rest to calm down (FINGER’S CROSSED). I wasn’t limping at the end, my gait wasn’t changed, it just felt like something had kept battering against a certain spot in my foot for too long. And today (Wednesday) it feels much better, still not 100% but barely noticeable.

I wore a different pair of trainers for this run. I’m so annoyed at myself. I saw on Strava that my older Brooks had only been worn just over 100 miles and I thought, to save money, I should wear them out a bit before having to buy new trainers. I forgot that they were my gym shoes for a long time and that there was probably a reason I no longer ran in them. What an idiot. Though I don’t know for sure if it was the trainers it’s the only thing I can think of as it’s sort of out of the blue. Perhaps the steep downhill at the start aggravated something? Who knows! What I do know is I’ve purchased a new pair of trainers that I trust.

Ahh well, as per usual injury prone Anna picks up a niggle. But on the plus side, it’s a small niggle (I’m confident but not certain…) and I have about nine weeks until Boston so it’s not panic stations yet Winking smile

Anyway, the run, despite not ending as I wanted and being tough with the wind, was a fantastic experience. Running with my grandad was great and 12 miles is still a good distance. I also felt like I could have gone on and on (which is another frustration that it was just my foot letting me down rather than anything else). The scenery was beautiful and I enjoyed it. So not a fail at all!

Importantly, it didn’t take away from the enjoyable and fun weekend I had with my family anyway!

Have you ever run with someone who was on a bike?

Have you ever had a foot issue before?

Do you enjoy spending time with your grandparents?

Not panicking

Here we go again. The weather is definitely on the change. The morning’s are not distinctly cooler and autumn is swooping in fast.

My weekend was a mixed bag really. Just rolling back to the start of the week I decided to book myself a sports massage with my normal physio as I could feel my shin/calf was a bit niggly. I ran on Tuesday night and it felt fine during the run but after doing some track work on Thursday night, it was definitely more grumpy. Luckily my massage was booked for Friday as I was working from home so it was nicely timed.

The physio wasn’t too concerned. She said it was just getting a bit inflamed which was causing the tightness. It’s annoying because I’ve managed to avoid all other injuries by strengthening my body; no IT band issues anymore, no knee issues, hip issues, groin issues etc. All of which have consistently plagued me in the past. After strengthening my body (specifically my glutes) I haven’t had any twinges, tightness or anything. The issue I’ve been consistently having with my shin/calf though I don’t know what to do about. I wondered if it was because I had weak calves and over the past few weeks have been doing lots of calf raises (single leg on the stairs).

After talking to my physio though she reckons that’s unnecessary and probably compounding my issue further. She said my calf (the one I’ve really focused on) feels very tight and this is probably making things worse when I run. Looking back it does seem to make sense as it has only got more niggly the more strength work I did. The likelihood is that it’s a biometrical issues caused by my flat feet (*sighs*) which gets aggravated when I do lots of mileage, but usually isn’t anything that comes to much (I do get a very slight similar issue in the other leg, but it never comes to anything). However adding in my quite enthusiastic calf raises most days (yep, I’m that keen) has just sparked it off. Thankfully though she’s given me some good exercises to work on my flat feet to strengthen my arches to try and stop this happening in the future. All about the toe-grabs 😉

And because I am such a paranoid runner and terrified of stress fractures I asked if it could be or was close to being a stress fracture (I know how ridiculous this sounds…especially as there was no actual pain). She knows my neuroticism and all but laughed at me. She ultrasounded my entire shin and calf area to reduce any inflammation and reassured me that if I had a stress fracture then the pain of the ultrasound would have been severe. The fact that I felt nothing proved I didn’t have one. Well, that’s something!

After that very long explanation, I ran parkrun on Saturday because I wanted to do it and because I wanted to know in my mind how bad it was. It didn’t feel amazing but no pain, just discomfort and, well, niggliness. It was very tender from the massage as well which probably didn’t help. I shouldn’t have run (my physio advised against it…yes I know, I’m ridiculous) but mentally I needed to know. It wasn’t any worse afterwards…

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It was the first time in ages that I was cold before we started. I say cold, more chilly really. Nothing like as bad as it gets in the depths of winter when you dread taking your coat off to line-up.

The rest of the day was, again, sorting more house stuff out. Specifically the loft and shed. Everywhere else is pretty much sorted in terms of streamlining my stuff, separating bits and pieces between Ben and me and throwing out/giving away/selling junk. Just the loft and shed are a beomoth of crap and full of stuff that “we might use later”.

The next day I’d planned 16 miles but on the advice of my physio I cancelled it. I’m probably going to take the rest of the week off just to be safe. For once I’m not panicking. Obviously I don’t want to DNS Bournemouth but I don’t think it’ll come to that if I’m sensible. Thankfully this isn’t an injury, but it could become one. A week off now means things can resume again without issue (FINGERS CROSSED). I think I’m mainly not that stressed about Bournemouth because I have no goals apart from to just finish it. Getting close to my previous times would be nice but I want to enjoy the marathon and not rinse myself and stress out. I just love marathons and want to continue my streak of having another good one in terms of enjoyment.

So I ended up in the gym on Sunday morning. I didn’t set an alarm but woke up at 7.30am and realised I could make the 8.30am Spin class. Ultimately having someone yell at you to workout is so much easier than motivating yourself I find (if it’s not running that is).

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I haven’t been to Spin in ages and was dreading it. But you know what, I really enjoyed it. The instructor was fantastic and played some great music. The sprints were hard but I found myself really going for it. Good workout indeed!

I wanted to exercise for around the same time I’d have been running for to maintain some sort of endurance (and sanity) so went on the elliptical machine, the rower and then followed by the stepper. I find it so hard to motivate myself or keep myself interested which is why I machine hopped (I tried to keep the breaks minimal when hopping between).

IMG_3806Less time than I would have been running but higher intensity I suppose. No way near as fun as a long run (and calorie stats and HR are so dull in comparison to having minutes per mile splits and elevation charts…) but it is what it is!

The rest of the day was spent having a long walk and chat with a close friend with Alfie. The weather was beautiful and it was lovely. Not much else to report sadly. Like I said, a bit of a mixed bag. I’m not stressing about my calf but I am bummed I can’t run…for the moment. But I have a far more positive outlook 🙂

Also, I’ve just started watching the Hannibal TV series. I was a bit reluctant as it looked a bit gory and scary for me but I liked the sound of the premise and the two guys in it are quite dishy (in a weird way). I AM HOOKED. It is rather grisly but it’s quite enthralling.

What have you gotten up to this weekend?

What TV shows are you hooked on right now? Do you have a particular genre you go for?

Calf raises: yes or no??