A few reflections – and I’m strangely OK!

So my marathon didn’t go how I wanted it to, obviously. And still a few days later I’m paying the price.

It’s very similar to what I had last year with my IT band – except the other leg. It’s funny because I re-read an old post of the fateful last run before I took time off around Christmas and it was almost identical to what happened in the marathon (so handy having these blog posts to refer to!). That took me around 4-6 weeks to come back to running. My expectations are firmly set. I’d rather think worst case then I can be pleasantly surprised if it’s not that bad.

Am I about to fall into a well of despair and go all dark and shady on you? No. I’m surprisingly OK about the whole thing. Oh yeah it fully sucks, don’t get me wrong. I’d love to be moaning about a few post-marathon aches and debating when my first run will be, instead of limping along pathetically feeling pain walking up and down stairs. But getting upset about it won’t solve anything and I’ve achieved so much this year that it would be almost greedy to want more and more. I’m an injury-prone runner, this is something that is bound to keep happening to me not matter how many squats and deadlifts I do.

I knew I was needing a break from running anyway as I was drawing close to the marathon. Running was feeling harder and I was feeling tired. I think I’ve done a lot recently and this injury has come at the best time (if ever there is a good time to have an injury!). I’d have liked to have voluntarily taken a break, obviously, but hey ho!

That said, I have wondered what exactly what went wrong at the marathon. I have literally had no knee pain at all this year. My IT band hasn’t felt uncomfortable or twingey. My runs before the marathon felt fine. I was more concerned about my shin than anything (which by the way, is absolutely fine!). I’d stopped foam rolling and stretching as religiously as I used to and I know my quads (and probably my IT bands I suppose) were tightish so that might not have helped.

I think the main reason could be the trainers I wore. With the house moving chaos my trainers have gotten all mixed up. The day before the marathon I was debating which to wear. My new ASICS have been great during training but I wondered how they’d fair in a full marathon. I knew (from Strava – very handy) that I wore my Mizunos for the Cheddar Gorge marathon and they felt fine so I thought I’d go for them. Unfortunately I have two pairs of identical Mizunos (whhhhhy don’t I just get rid of old trainers?!) and mistakenly picked up the old ones that I’d retired. It’s funny because I remember looking at them in Bournemouth and realising they were a lot cleaner than the ones that had run Cheddar Gorge…bugger. This is the only thing I can think of. I’m a runner who needs support in their trainers and my old Mizunos are definitely past their best.

I’m seeing my physio Friday (ahh, haven’t seen him in a while!) and I’m expecting him to say no running for at least two weeks, and then reassess. Icing has been my friend (I wish I was talking about the cake variety…).

Icing knee in car

Monday morning I used my commute well – and my Hello Fresh ice packs! (An idea I got from Mary).

Speaking of icing, I forgot to mention in my recap about how after the marathon a few of us trundled into the see in just our socks. It was freeeeeezing, but it was good fun and fantastic after such a long run (plus walk!). Though a wave did splash against me, causing me to get a wet bum. Nice. I wish I’d gotten a photo but, like I said, my phone was dead.

Anyway, for the moment I’m feeling like a rest is a good idea. This week I’m doing nothing, even the gym (not that I could do anything other than upper body and core right now). Getting good nutrition and a good night sleep each night are my priority.


The latest Marathon Talk podcast with the interview with Dr. Kirk Parsley about the importance of sleep has only further highlighted that the best thing I can do right now is make sure I get a good night sleep to help with the recovery process. Getting up at 5am to hobble round the gym is not going to help!

My only one annoyance is parkrun. I was doing so well to go so consistently and I’m second on the female points table. *Sighs* but I’m not going to risk anything. I’ll volunteer this week and be a bit grumpy 😉

What are your priorities when you’re injured? Nutrition? Sleep? Cross-training?

How much sleep do you get each night?

How much sleep do think is best for you?

15 miles, chicken and chocolate

Morning you fabulous people. Does anyone else feel like there needs to be a day in between Saturday and Sunday? A day to catch up on all the things you think you’re going to get done over the weekend but actually don’t. How many times has clean the kitchen floor been on my to-do list??

The weekend started off nicely, with a cheeky little trip to Nando’s on Friday night with my parents and Ben for a whole lotta chicken.

Nandos 21.02

So many choices of sauces! I went for mango and lime

I went for half a chicken, corn on the cob and side salad. How very Paleo of me (is that Paleo? Potentially…) 😉 I also got to eat Ben’s leftover chicken as well. Yum.

Saturday  morning we were up and at ‘em to help set-up Parkrun at Netley Abbey.

Netley Abbey It was the cricket pitch course again (five laps…snore). But I was determined to beat my time from last weekend (22:30). The weather was better and the course a bit drier.

It was quite nippy so I made sure I warmed up a lot – lots of walking lunges, high knees and strides. Then go go go!

IMG_6015 There’s me in the pink top and shorts. I felt really strong and just kept pushing. My pace dropped as I went along but I managed to maintain a speedier pace than last week.


In the end I got a time of 21:27 and was first female 🙂 Almost a minute off last week and I beat the lady that beat me last week, which was quite nice. And my lovely pregnant friend who is still running despite being fairly pregnant wasn’t far behind – I mean seriously, how inspiring is that?? I hope that’s me one day!

I foolishly did not prepare well for the next day’s long run. I ate a really big dinner and a lot of fudge the night before and felt very bloated and not too well when I went to bed. How stupid can I be?

Ben and me were planning to join up with our running club’s long run on the Sunday and for various different reasons, we managed to get there too late (by 5 minutes). This was really annoying as I was looking forward to running my long run with company and hadn’t brought my headphones or anything. Ben and me decided to part ways and just run on. I was aiming for 8.30-9min/mile pace and Ben wanted to do 9.30min/mile so we couldn’t really run together.

Anyway I headed off with the vague and optimistic hope that I could catch them knowing that a part of the group would be running Ben’s pace. This kept me entertained for about 8 miles thinking “Keep going, they’re just around this corner”. Happily I had no idea I got their route wrong and was going a completely different way…


I’d say it sort of went OK. I had some serious stomach cramps and moments when I thought I’d have to dive into a bush which wasn’t great. I had also brought only a tiny water bottle which disappeared by mile 10. And my legs felt very heavy and tired from the day before. The last two miles were spent mentally pushing myself and fantasying about a cold glass of water.

Basically I’d say 60% of the reason why the run wasn’t brilliant was because of the day before (hard Parkrun and bad preparation), 20% was my IT band feeling tired and niggling my knee (not major though) and 20% was mental. Not running with any music, podcast or conversation really put the focus on running and the miles counting down. It was nice to have that quiet time and focus but I’m not used to it for such a long run.

When I got home I had a glass of water within seconds. Best drink in the entire world. Then I stretched like a madwoman, had a huge bowl of porridge and then screamed the house down by having an ice bath.

Ice bath with socks I have to wear socks as my feet get so so cold. It took ages for them to warm up afterwards! Ben had to hug them for about five minutes. That’s love.

Then the rest of the day I somehow managed to get the ironing done, walk Alfie, prepare my lunches for the next few days and make Mars Bar crispie cakes for work! I then promptly collapsed onto the sofa and did nothing. Heaven.

I made the cakes for work to sell in order to raise some money for the charity (Make a Wish) I’m running for on Sunday’s Reading half marathon.

Mars bar crispie cake I went for the simplest baking I could. But still, what an arm work out! Stirring up melted chocolate with rice crispies is no small feat.

I made sure to save Ben one though when I cut them up this morning to take to work 😉


So a productive, tiring but brilliant weekend.

Now to relax a bit at work 😉 At least physically!!

What is the easiest thing you bake? I find everything hard to bake 😉

How do you recover after a long run/hard workout? All the foods!!

What’s your sauce of choice: hot, spicy, mild, sweet…? Sweet and spicy is one of my favourite.

**If you did want to sponsor me and my little team for the Reading Half you can find out fundraising page HERE. No donation is too small.**

Injury Recovery

Happy Friday, folks. How’s your week being going? Mine has been fairly standard. For some reason I have been so tired. I think it might be the weather. We only finally got a bit of rain yesterday, so it’s been quite oppressive and humid recently.

Anyway, I wanted to do a post on how I recovered from my injury (because I think I’m pretty much fully recovered now). I know I’ve been harping on about my injury and ‘woe is me’ and it does seem to have dragged excessively long (sorry!) so I thought I’d do a ‘lessons learnt’ and tips post.

Quick background if you’re not aware: mid-June I started to get a slight pain in my right leg, near my hip up along my IT Band.

IT Band


Then after a few too many races, I went out for a run and BANG serious pain all down my IT band to my knee. Game over, no running.

I’m pretty certain I know what I did to cause it. Overuse and not listening to my body. Every weekend I ran a race and was pushing myself quite hard. I was addicted to races (still am…but I think I’m a bit more sensible now!).

Anyway, after confirming with the physio it was hip bursitis which was caused by a very tight IT band, I stopped running. It sucked.

So, then came a long and arduous time of trying to figure out how the hell I can get my leg better.

Number one: stop running. Stop doing the same damn thing that caused the issue in the first place. I even hate typing this it sucks so much. But honestly, it is better to stop completely and heal then try and push through and extend the injury longer. Unfortunately for me I did have to go on the UK Challenge team building event with work which involved a whole lot of running which I couldn’t avoid. This didn’t help. I probably would have recovered a whole lot quicker if I hadn’t have gone. Hey ho.

Post-Challenge, I ran less miles and at less intensity. There was no pain just discomfort thankfully. But still not better completely.

Number two: ice.


Andy Murray does it and so should you if you’re starting to feel an injury on it’s way. Muscles get inflamed and ice helps reduce that inflammation and calm things down. I was pretty much having an ice bath after every single run. It seriously helped.


Alfie liked to get involved. He wondered what all the screaming was about

Number three: not only did I ice but I also took Ibuprofen when my leg was really tender. I also used the Ibuprofen gel on my leg before bed and in the morning.

Number four: stretch and strengthen. After extensive research thanks to good old Google I found that I probably needed to work on my strength. All I did was run, run, run. Yep I love it that way, but my body obviously doesn’t.

I knew I needed to loosen my IT band and work on my hip strength.


The foam roller and I have become best buddies. I seriously foam roll after every run now, and if my leg still feels tight I’ll do it in the evening as well.

This is a great one to do but hurts like hell:

IT Band Foam Rolling


As for hip strengthening, it’s all about the clam. The least most attractive exercise know to man. Ben laughs at me when I do it.

Clam Exercise


And side leg lifts:

skinny jeans_final


I do them every other day (10 on each leg three times). And now I’ve progressed to using a resistance band with them. I’ve found this has really helped.

And this stretch for my IT band has been a big help too:

IT Band Stretch


Number five: balance. Along with stretching and strengthening I’ve incorporated cross-training into my week. I’ve joined a gym so I can go to classes like Pump for strengthening and Spin for cross-training. Spin is great as it’ll still work my cardiovascular system but without the constant pressure on my joints and legs in every step.

Above all: listen to your body. Only you can know what’s going on and if you’re pushing to hard and too often. If it hurts, it means something significant.

Remember, there are always other races and other days to bust out that workout.

Hope this helped anyone who needed it!

Have you been injured?/ Are injured?

How did you recover?


Oh man. I am tired. Yesterday Ben and me ran the New Forest 10 mile race. At 11.15am. In stupidly hot weather. It was tough.

Let’s roll it back a bit to Saturday. I did the 5km Parkrun in the morning as a shakeout run. I took it steady and used it just as a nice easy run the day before hell a tough long race. Annoyingly, it was hot and hard work – it did not feel like an easy run. I managed it in 22.49 which I was chuffed with, and amazingly I was third girl.


Ben decided to marshal at the Parkrun instead

For the rest of the day we got the chores done and I persuaded Ben to spend a small fortune go to Halfords so we could sort our bikes out as they’ve both got punctures. I really want to balance things up a bit with the running and do some cycling the odd day in the week. It’s a half-formed plan at the moment so I’ll let you know how it goes later on.

Then my loving husband got to work.


He complained a bit to start with but then he got into it. It was all manly and DIY-ish so he loved it.

Then we chilled for the rest of the day had started getting nervous about the race the next day. We prepared ourselves by having a nice ice bath…


…and carbing it up with a good dinner.


Good old pizza. Chicken, stupid amounts of veg, BBQ sauce. A tried-and-tested meal that never fails me pre-race day.

Early to bed and early to rise. Ben and me both felt so nervous. It was hot. We drank lots of water (and coffee, sshhh!) and ate a good breakfast of oatmeal. Then my dad showed up and we convoyed over to the New Forest.


Over 800 people took part

It would have been a beautiful day for a BBQ, relaxing down the beach or in your garden with a glass of something chilled. Not running 10 miles.

I spent the best £5 I’ve ever spent on a 10 minute sports massage. It was so necessary. My IT band was tight. So tight it was almost agony when the lady dug deep on it. I now have bruises.

Then we lined up and three, two, one we were go, go go.

Mile one I took way too fast. I was optimistic and just enjoying the atmosphere and flow. But it was right in the sun. Mile two I was slowing down (the story of this race) but we were hitting some shade which was nice. Mile three was my first milestone to celebrate. I felt like I was properly into the race then. And we hit our first drinks stop. I threw two waters over myself and enjoyed the coolness. I had a water with me with an electrolyte table in it (Zero High Five if you’re interested) that I kept sipping slowly.


Mile four I was feeling the heat. The water that had been cooling minutes earlier had evaporated so it was back to being hot. My time was consistently slowing. Mile five I hit a low point. The course was pretty flat but there were the occasional gradual inclines and they felt like mountains in the heat. I felt extremely hot, a bit sick and I was tempted to stop and walk. Luckily another drinks point appeared and I was squirted with a hose (I almost stopped and said “can I just stay here now in the foetal position?”). Mile six and I was pushing through, still slowing, but I had come back from my darkest hour and celebrated another milestone (firmly over half way). Just before mile seven there was a stone path for a good .2 of a mile. So hard to run over.

Mile eight and I celebrated another milestone in my eyes – you’re almost at mile nine and then you’re almost finished (make sense?). I saw a man walking and I helped push him back to a run with some encouragement and that felt great. He thanked me and pushed on.

Mile nine just couldn’t have come sooner. I stared a little mantra in my head, something like “less than a mile to go, la la la”. Yep madness was slowly creeping in. Then we were on the home-stretch. I saw the finish. I pushed the speed and finished!


I pretty much dropped around 10 seconds per mile until the last mile – almost a perfect positive split. Whoops.

My official time was 1:18:24, fourteenth girl overall, fifth girl in my age category, 120th overall. I suppose it’s a PB as I’ve never run a 10 miles faster than 1:19 but I’ve never actually raced it. Considering the heat I’m over the moon with this time!

I then drank a gallon of water and queued up to be showered with a cold hose pipe. BLISS.

Ben and Anna

Ben came in a bit later (this was his first ever 10 mile and he was still recovering from an ankle injury).

NF10 medal

We got a lovely horse brass as our medal as well, which was a lovely touch.

On getting home I showered, ice bathed, devoured piles of food (and my body weight in watermelon) and then just relaxed. I couldn’t even be bothered to get dressed.


Alfie’s like “Girl, that is not a good look!”

I was pooped. Still am.

What did you get yup to this weekend?

Did anyone run any races in the crazy heat?

What’s your best/favourite medal you’ve ever got from a race?

Spa day, races and tasty snacks

OK, I don’t want to rub it in…but I haven’t been at work today! I’ve had the day off! Hurrah! And I had a very lovely day indeed with my mum and mother-in-law. We bought Groupon vouchers ages ago for a spa day. Ooh-err!

We went to a local hotel which was all rather posh and lovely.


And indulged in a bit of a pampering. We had a neck, shoulders and back massage, and a facial. Oh it was divine. It lasted for so long and then we could mosey about in lovely thick robes (though it was a tad hot in them considering the weather). We went in the pool and Jacuzzi (well, I just sat in the Jacuzzi) and then had a lovely salad for lunch in the gardens.


I went for marinated chicken with sundried tomatoes and rock. So good.

Does anyone else find it awkward having a treatment? I’m always so self-conscious. And about the most stupid stuff…like what should I be wearing under my robe? Should I be in just my knickers, should I be in my bikini? And then when she’s actually massaging me I start over-thinking…should I be talking to her? I hope my back is a normal back…Should I be complimenting her technique? Jeeze I never know. So I just stayed silent. Better to say silent then say something stupid!

Well, despite my ridiculous over-thinking anxieties, it was wonderful. We had a lovely morning/afternoon.

Just looking back at the week, on Wednesday night Ben and me headed to a league run with our running club called the RR10 league (do other people have that??). Basically all the running clubs in our area compete in a set of 10 races at different locations. It’s not based on time but rather actual place you finish.

Because I never manage to get home in time from work I haven’t made any others except for Wednesday night which was really close to home.

I was feeling a bit nervous as my hip/knee has been giving me a bit of grief again (*wails in frustration*). I’ve found I have hip bursitis. Joy of joys. Basically my hips flares up a bit when it’s tight and it causes a bit of discomfort in my hip and knee. All I really can do is use lots of ice, stretching and strengthening of my hips.

So I was going to take this run as just a fairly standard run. Not too easy but not going like lightening. The race was off-road and apparently 4.8 miles.

As we started the first mile was quite slow anyway as it was single file through a corn field. You couldn’t overtake which was so frustrating. But I thought this was ideal really as it stopped me from sprinting.

Then the next couple of miles were OK. We came out of the corn field and I could speed it up a tad and get past some people.

RR10 Anna

I’ve been wearing a knee thing to just give a bit of extra support

Towards the end of mile three we hit a steady incline and it got rough. I felt like my legs were like lead and I was tired. I literally felt like I had no energy.

Then mile four was another loop of the bloody incline. I found myself despairing by looking at my Garmin but I literally could do nothing about it. Anyway at like 4.5 miles I was thinking “excellent, almost there”.

We hit mile 5 and I was thinking “ermm, where’s the finish then?”. Some marshals shouted we were almost there and I decided to give it my all. I mean we were at 5.1 miles, it must be round that corner right?

I got round that corner and no finish line was in sight. I lost my speed and motivation. Finally I saw the finish and practically crawled across it. Really not fun.


Man it was tough. I came twelfth girl though (whoop whoop). Considering the first mile was pants as I got stuck behind so many people (as did everyone I guess) and I’m still having issues with my leg I think that’s great Open-mouthed smile

I went home and had a lovely ice bath and whipped on the compression socks. I still have an irrational fear of my compression socks since the dreaded cramp incident the other week…Ben has to help me now. Haha.

And I also want to share with you guys these great snacks I’ve been sent for review. The lovely Jemma over at Celery and Cupcakes got me involved and I was more than happy to try these bad boys as I’d heard good things about them.


They’re called Garbanzo snacks and have only been around since 2011but the fan-base is expanding! Basically they’re roasted chickpeas and they have a pretty clean ingredient’s list: GM-free, no additives and no preservatives. And they’re high in fibre so help keep you full.

And they taste really good. They’re satisfyingly crunchy and the flavours are great (my favourite is the Thai sweet chilli).

And the best part? The serving sizes are huge for 88 calories!!


This, my friends, is only half a portion! I decided to drag them out for as long as possible as I was addicted and only had three bags. Really, really good.

***Thanks to Jemma, I can offer you guys 20% extra if you decide to purchase any of the snacks from their website. Basically the discount is two packets free of charge for every order. Just type in GARB/02 in the notes section of the shopping cart.***

And that’s it from me! We’ve got Parkrun tomorrow and then the dreaded New Forest 10 miler. I may not survive due to dehydration, so thanks for reading guys. I’ll miss you! Winking smile

What treatment would you have a spa? I’m all about massages. It feels SO good.

Have you suffered from any injuries?

What snacks can’t you get enough of?