How I recovered from injury

So, touch wood and all that jazz, but it appears I’m back in the game. I’m running again!

And yes I still stand by the fact that I don’t regret running ALL THE MILES in Austria… it just confirms to me what I already know. I’m injury prone and I should gradually build up my miles and I probably shouldn’t run more than two days in a row.Inline image 1

My running was going so well…then Austria happened (follow me on Strava here)

What I do regret however is running a race a couple of days after getting back from Austria. Though I didn’t race it and it was only 4 miles, it wasn’t ideal and was probably the straw that broke the camel’s back (well, the straw that duffed my knee up). I really needed to take a good solid week off, maybe even two, before attempting to jump back into things. But there we go. These things happen. I annoyed my knee to the point that running after that was a big no-no.

The area of the knee affected was the inside bit, nearest the other knee if that makes sense. It wasn’t swollen but it was just very uncomfortable when I tried to run, or stretch it. I’m almost 100% certain it was just a simple over-use injury caused by the mileage and downhill running.

I’m actually quite proud of myself for not overly panicking about the situation. I saw Kyle, my local friendly sports massage therapist, a few times and had some acupuncture.I stopped running and avoided anything in the gym that caused me discomfort or pain. This was mainly any sort of jumping or lunging. Thankfully I could still use the elliptical machine to maintain a level of fitness (still meant to be marathon training… 10th September, New Forest). I also focused my leg days on my quads – nothing too heavy, but I did find this made a good improvement. It might have been increasing the blood flow to that area to help the healing process and also strengthen an area that needed a bit of “building back up” – but this is literally me guessing and just the fact that I took time at the same time (causality confusion and all that). I’d love to pass on some quick wins and magic pill that solved my knee pain but, as with the majority of injuries, it is really about rest. And, surprise surprise, it worked.Inline image 2My first run back was a frustrating two mile run. Towards the end my knee started to niggle but after I’d stopped it wasn’t any worse than before. So I took things gradually by having enough non-running days between this run and my next. Three miles this time, and far better.Inline image 3As I said before, my plan is for a gradual inverse taper to the marathon. Ideally I’d love to hit 16 miles (possibly 17 or 18) the week before but I’ll play it by ear and how my knee is responding. I’ll be running this marathon slower than previous ones as I’ll be running with my friend Mike and he’s aiming for a sub 4. But a marathon is still 26.2 miles of pounding and endurance so I can’t go into it feeling blasé or that it’ll be easy. No marathon is easy!

But finger’s crossed I’m back in the game. Being surrounded by runners at work is amazing, of course, but it also generates an almost unbearable feeling of FOMO (fear of missing out). I can’t wait until I can do some runching eventually…

Have you ever done an inverse taper for a marathon?

How do you cope with being injured?

Have you ever regretted a run/race?

Rants and Raves #38

What’s been bugging me and making me smile lately? Let’s find out… (did that read as cheesy as it sounded when I read it out-loud? Yeah).

Rave: Time. I have so much more time in my life at the moment. When I worked in Basingstoke it would take at absolute best 40 minutes to get home. But that was from sitting in the car in the carpark to parking my car in the garage. From my new office in Portsmouth (incidentally the same location as the Lakeside parkrun and also the D Day 10k I did back in June), from being in my office to standing in my flat it takes 25 minutes. It literally takes 15-20 minutes to drive there. THIS IS INCREDIBLE. For over five and a half years I have driven up and down the M27 and M3 and more times than not it will take me over and hour to get home. OK yes it is currently school holidays so the roads are quieter, but even still if it takes less than hour from door to door I will be over the moon. Alfie doesn’t know what’s going on. He’s dead asleep when I get in.

And, similar to my last job, the working hours are fairly relaxed. Obviously you make sure you do your core hours and necessary tasks over the week but you can come in earlier or later and then correspondingly leave earlier or later. It’s fantastic. I think offices like this are far more realistic to how people want to work (obviously I know not all workplaces can or should do this but for a lot of office-based work it makes a lot of sense). It gives a good level of morale.

Rave: And while we’re on the subject of my new job… I love it. I mean it’s early days of course, but it is so interesting and everyone is so friendly and nice. The majority of people who work at Wiggle have some level of interest in cycling or running. You hear people chatting about their latest rides and runs all over the place. And there are bikes and trainers everywhere as the brand and design teams check them out. I mean, it is SUPER cool. And not to mention the bikes hanging from the walls, one of the Brownlee brother’s GB tri-suit framed, bikes wheels as clock faces, pictures all over the place. I’m very happy. And my job itself is something I have a genuine interest in and can’t wait to get more stuck into a progress further. I won’t be posting a huge deal about it because I want to maintain a level of professionalism but I will share where I can the little tidbits tat I get excited over 🙂

Rave: OK, OK one more rave about my new job. Every Friday they have a mini food festival on the field outside the office. EVERY FRIDAY.When I heard about this I had to swallow down a squeal (can’t let all the craziness out on the first week, of course). Sadly I’d already brought lunch with me but decided to venture downstairs and see what was on offer for future Friday lunches.Well, they had Caribbean food, Mexican food, pizzas, some American-style BBQ… and cakes. Oh the cakes.I stood there for too long and caved under the might cake pressure. I had to get myself a rocky road slab. And I say slab because it was HUMUNGOUS.Rant: I had a car accident on my second day driving into work. It was my fault and it was very stupid. Luckily no one was injured. I was in a queue for some traffic lights and we’d stopped. I then saw the lights go green ahead and I went forward…straight into the still stationary car in front of me. Completely my fault for not checking the car RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. Luckily the man I drove into was very nice and didn’t yell at me. He calmly asked for my details and told me (after I’d apologised about a zillion times) that in the great scheme of things, it wasn’t that big an accident. No one had died or been badly hurt. So my little Fiat 500 is at the garage getting fixed and I have a little Citroen C1 and a £250 excess to cover. I’m trying not to think about how much my insurance will be when I renew it at the end of the year…*Sighs* you live and learn. Life was clearly going far too well for me currently!

Rant: Turning up to my gym (luckily a bit later than my usual 5.30am, I think it was about 6am) to find that the fire alarm was going off and everyone was stuck outside waiting to go back in.
Thankfully it was an error and luckily it was quite mild…in the middle of winter I would not have been amused. It was fairly cool to see a fire engine show up and a load of firemen ‘save the day’. Made for an interesting morning anyway!
Rave: Being interviewed for thrunABC magazine. It was a while ago I was sent the email so I’d kind of forgotten about it until someone Tweeted me letting me know. Ahh, fame! 😉
 My mum was so proud!
Rave: And a final rave…I was sent a crafty little hand-held device, called Zap-It!, which helps stop you itching when you get attacked by mosquitoes and bugs. Basically it generates a low, electrical impulse when clicked against the bite and what this does is reduce the histamine flow and stimulate capillaries, which flushes out the toxins (that make you want to itch).The shock is really very small so not painful at all. Not like that HORRENDOUS Tough Mudder electric shock obstacle, dear God. It can also be used up to 1,000 times (the poor soul who gets 1,000 bites…). A great addition to your essential gear for BBQ’s, festivals and of course any trail races! You can buy it in lots of chemists and supermarkets or online.
What are you ranting and raving about this week?
 
Have you ever had a car accident?
 
What’s most important to you about the environment you work in?

Life Update

So I thought I’d do a little post updating you on a few changes in my life. Being almost 30 (OK, I’ve only just 29) and divorced isn’t exactly where I saw my life going but it is what it is.

Being divorced is not really a fun thing to admit when you start to get to know people, like on the Austrian Run Camp. “Is there a Mr Anna?”… “well there was” and you feel a bit rubbish. That said, I do try to maintain a positive outlook in life because I’m a glass half full kind of girl and I live by the notion of learning from experience and regretting nothing (including when I eat stupid amounts of cake).

But I digress. I’m still single and pretty chilled about it. I’ve been dabbling with Plenty of Fish a bit (I don’t and won’t use Tinder) but it’s pretty rubbish. As you can imagine, as a free way to online date it’s not great. I haven’t had experience with paying for online dating so I can’t comment there but I’m not at the point where I feel I want to pay yet…

I’ve been on a few dates but the effort level to get to those dates is just so laborious. I don’t want to know someone’s family history before going on a date, but because arranging a date with a virtual stranger is actually quite daunting the temptation to keep messaging and messaging is strong. And though the dates themselves have been alright and the guys seem nice enough, so far it’s been a no beuno for me.

Unfortunately for me it seems all the guys I fancy are either taken or live a distance away and probably have no idea I’m interested (because I don’t really “make moves”). But as I’ve said previously, I’m OK with my singleness at the moment. Sure it’d be nice to share some fun with someone else but I’m fairly happy with my current existence.

I have to say though a few months ago I wasn’t so happy. I mean, I was happy in myself, in my running, my friends and things like that, but I haven’t been happy with work. And actually work is a fairly significant chunk of your life. At least eight hours a day, five days a week, not including commuting (at least two hours a day for me). I’ve been finding myself more and more unsatisfied and frustrated. I’ve been a software test analyst for over five years at my current job in Basingstoke and over the past year realised it wasn’t actually what I wanted to do for the foreseeable future.

And once you realise that, it can really get you down. I want to be one of those people who enjoys what they do. I know everyday at work shouldn’t be a song and a dance, full of rainbows and butterflies, but at the same time I want to feel some level of fulfilment, pride and ambition in what I do. I’ve lost that with my current job sadly.

So I started looking for a new job a few months ago in an entirely different career. As it’s an entirely different area where I have limited, if any, experience it’s somewhat of a big change. And a pay cut. I have thought long and hard about this. I’m paid quite well in my current job and have limited outgoings and dependencies, meaning my life is quite easy and comfortable. I can go on holidays, book marathons, buy trainers (*cough* leggings) and eat out when I fancy. But these luxuries are no longer distracting me from the fact that I’m not enjoying the eight plus hours during the week.

Money is not giving me happiness right now. So I’m heading to a new challenge…

Yes they did send Haribo with my job offer

After the rather depressing and soul destroying process of applying to millions of different places, rarely hearing back, getting rejected, going for a few interviews, I finally landed myself a job with none other than Wiggle! This is obviously right up my street in terms of my interests and passions and so much closer to where I actually live as well. Happy days all round!

I haven’t started there yet. I still have a few weeks left of my notice to work at my current job, but needless to say I am both excited and TERRIFIED. Starting a new job is always scary. Will people like me? Will I fit in? Will I pick things up quickly? A million concerns are flowing through my head right now. And the pay cut weighing heavily on my mind.

But the time is now. I need to make that change. Someone told me a great quote from the Lean In book from Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO. She said that a career is more like a jungle gym than a ladder. You don’t necessarily keep moving up, but you keep striving to move forward. Sometimes you need to make side-steps or step-backs in order to progress. I’d like to think that’s exactly what I’m doing. Fingers crossed, eh?

And now for a quick review for an Organic Pillow Spray.This organic lavender spray is made in Grasse in Southern France (the “perfume capital of the world” apparently) and aims to help with insomnia and sleep issues. Lavender is well known for it’s calming properties and is often used in sleep aids. The forumla contains Litsea Cubeba and Bergamot which are also associated with relaxation and Lemon and Rosemary to promote blood circulation.

All you do is spray it onto your sheets and pillows before bed. Crucially it’s non-staining! You can buy a 100ml bottle from healthy2u.co.uk for £9.95. I personally love the smell of lavender and have enjoyed spraying this around. I don’t tend to struggle with getting to sleep but the smell is a lovely one to drift off to. Though they could have made the bottle a bit more appealing to be honest! It looks a bit like something from a chemistry lab…

When was the last time you changed jobs?

Have you ever made a big career change?

Do you use any sleeping aids?

**Full Disclaimer: I was send the pillow spray for free in return for a blog review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

Feeling a bit lost

Initially I wasn’t really sure whether to write a post like this or not. But then I guess I like to be honest and transparent in my blog so might as well.

In general, I’m a very happy and upbeat person. I’m a glass half-full kind of girl. And a lot of times this can get me into trouble because I won’t have back-up plans or contingencies because I assume everything will be fine. I don’t like to dwell on sad things or not see things in a positive light – I’m very much an optimist. I’ll bat of things with positivity and jokes. Happiness is my default, and I know I’m lucky in that respect.

But lately I’ve been a bit down. I don’t really like to mention these sorts of things on my blog as my blog is, in general, a happy space where I waffle on about running and random fluffy stuff. But sometimes it’s good to be honest and to show that whatever you might see on the outside, it’s not necessarily true of reality.

I feel like I’m lost. I don’t know what I’m doing any more (did I ever? Does anyone ever?). I’ve just turned 29 and I don’t know where my life is going. I thought I had it all figured out. When I was growing up I studied hard, always with the goal of university and a career I loved. That sort of turned out as it should but other things happened and the years flew by and now I’m not so certain of anything anymore.

Yes it’s partly that horrible comparison trap again. Seeing what others are doing around me. My friends, family and people on social media all seeming to have such control and direction in their life. While I feel like I’m a ship in the middle of the ocean and I don’t know which direction to sail. I’m floating aimlessly. I’m not sinking but I’m not going anywhere either.

I’m happy in general, don’t get me wrong. Life is very good. I have a good job, I earn good money, I own my own flat, I have wonderful and supportive friends and family, I can go on nice holidays and buy nice things…I really have nothing to complain about. But I have no purpose and a bit of an emptiness inside. Oh I know, this is such a “first world problem” and one of those horribly cliched ideals of modern life. I am well aware of how blessed and lucky I am. But I still can’t help but feel down.

I think my issue is my current lifestyle. I live in a lovely suburban area full of lovely friendly people… but people who have their 2.4 children, their family homes and they’re all settled down. I however am not in that world. I don’t have kids, I don’t have a “family”. But nor am I living the lifestyle of a young (yes? I’m still young right?) single woman. It’s a full on 20 minute drive to get into town and the nearest shop to me is the huge Next Home shop and PC World.

I should be in the thick of it, amongst other young, carefree people who aren’t planning their baby showers or what they’ll do in the school holidays. But I’m not. I’m going to work and coming home, going to work and coming home. I can’t go out with my work colleagues because it’s an hour away from where I live (by car) and I have Alfie at home waiting for me. I can’t, on a whim, ring up a nearby friend and just head out for the evening because they either live too far away or have family-orientated plans. I’ve got all these barriers stopping me from living a proper single life. The only way to date is online dating and so far this has not gone particularly well. I feel like I’m watching life pass me by.

I’m happy and comfortable…But I’m worried that I’ll tick along like this on autopilot and one day wake up and I’m still single, still floating aimlessly and years have flown by. Something has to change I guess. It’s just being brave enough to make that change.

Have you ever felt like this?

What advice would you give?

Thing I’m loving lately – June

*Whispers* I don’t want to speak too soon, but I have had a pretty decent streak of running uninjured.

I mean I had a blip after Tokyo with my ankle, but after a week off I was good to go again. It’s kind of all going…dare I say it, OK??Two marathons and now onto my next bout of marathon training, please let it continue to go as smoothly!

So as I’m in a pretty good mood with my running, I thought I’d continue these happy vibes with some things I’m loving lately.

The new series of My Dad Wrote A Porno podcast: If you’ve never heard of it or think it sounds weird, you really just need to give it a go. It is HILARIOUS. Like actual laugh out loud comedy. I binge listened to the first two series and now they’ve just started the third series. They have fans such as Daisy Ridley, Elijah Wood, Michael Sheen. I can’t recommend it enough.

Dogs of parkrun: I love how many dogs come out to parkrun. Not all of them run, but it’s lovely to see them ‘supporting’. I took a photo of some of the ones I saw at Netley at the weekend and made a collage.All so lovely. I know that dogs at races/parkrun can be annoying but I’m a big dog lover so to me I’m happy to have to dodge around them and their leads. I’d love to run with Alfie but I’m worried that as he’s a bit older (almost eight!) it might not be a good idea. He’s never run further than half a mile so I’d need to start very slowly with him, which at the moment I don’t really have time for. He loves racing about on his own though.

SIS products: I really love these products I’ve been sent. I don’t actually take the Overnight Protein Powder in the evening as it suggests but I have it in my porridge every morning (about 15g). I like to boost my porridge in this way to get some added protein and it adds a nice chocolate taste. It really isn’t overwhelming sweet.They suggest taking the protein powder in the evening due to the casein content (80% casein and 20% whey from the milk protein). Casein works while you’re asleep, stimulating muscle protein synthesis. It’s low in fat and carbs as well. Like I said, I like how subtle the chocolate taste is so it goes really nicely in my porridge (I add it to the oats before I microwave it). I’m not a huge fan of overly sweet porridge. It also makes a nice hot chocolate as well when mixed with hot water!

And as I’ve mentioned previously, I love the Go Caffeine Shots. These are going to become pre-race staples for me. I’d normally have a cup of black coffee before a race but I hate drinking too much liquid. This shot is only 60ml so is perfect, so I can still hydrate well with water.

The tropical flavour is definitely my favourite over the cola flavour though. The cola one is just a bit too sharp/sour.

Having a clear out: My drawers are currently bulging with the amount of fitness clothes and race t-shirts I own so I decided to have a clear out. I donated a load of tops from races that I wasn’t too bothered about (really old 10ks) and then separated t-shirts I wanted to keep but would no longer wear, such as marathon t-shirts.

I’ve decided at the end of the year I’ll get a blanket made up of my race tops as a nice way to keep the t-shirts and remember the race. I’ve found this website that does it. It’s expensive, which is why I’m waiting until the end of the year so I can add (HOPEFULLY) a few more shirts to it.

I’d like to do something with my bibs as well (I always save them as well as my medals) but I’m not sure what at the moment. A friend of mine put them on his wall and that looked cool, but I don’t really have the space. Maybe a big scrapbook or something.

What do you do with your race t-shirts and bibs?

Do you use any SIS products?

Do you have long running streaks or are you injury prone like me?

**Full Disclaimer: I’ve been sent the SIS products for free to test out for a review on my blog. All opinions are my own honest ones.**