Highs and Lows

Hello! Well that was a fairly rubbish weekend. OK, not all of it was rubbish but pretty much 70%. I was not a well bunny 🙁

Friday Ben and me had the day off. We both slept in which was just divine (for us this is just before 9am – normally we’re up 7.30am-8am if we don’t have anything going on ). I then had my final running school session. I started this ages ago in November but had to stop going because I got injured (ironic really – I started doing the running school to stop getting injured).

Anyway, in my first session the coach filmed my running to see where my problem areas were. I dropped my hip, I bounced up and down unnecessarily, my leg flicked out…not great. Though I haven’t been to the running school in months I have been doing lots of specifically running-focused strength work to target my weakness: my glutes and hamstrings. Lots of bridges, single leg squats, clams…twice a week at least.

He videoed me against this time to see if I’d improved. Thankfully I had! He put both videos next to each other and the improvement was clear. I no longer bounce but use that energy to propel forward. My leg doesn’t flick out excessively. My pelvis and hips are more level. And the whole running motion just looks like a smooth and natural forward propulsion. I was very pleased.

Unfortunately after the appointment I started feeling a bit dodge. My tummy didn’t feel great but I could ignore it. Anyway Ben and me had a nice meal to go to that I was excited about.

We went to a lovely rustic pub in Basingstoke called The Purefoy Arms.The Purefoy Arms And it was lovely. The service was impeccable; our waiter knew the menu inside out and everything was sustainable, local and fresh.

We both decided to have scallops to start, and, unusually for both of us, the butcher’s steak (rare) with a duck’s eggs and dripping cooked chips. For pudding I had a brownie with a scoop of ice cream.

IMG_6080 The brownie was dark chocolate with crumble crumbs and chocolate covered nuts alongside. The ice cream is in the jar.

Ben enjoyed a rhubarb panacotta with a side of rhubarb infused gin!

IMG_6079 We were pleasantly full afterwards as the portion sizes weren’t huge.

Sadly though I just felt worse after the meal and basically just had to go to bed when I got in. I really enjoyed the meal but my stomach was just not happy.

I had a fairly rough evening and didn’t sleep a huge amount, so Saturday’s Parkrun was off the cards for me. Instead I slept in and read my book. I was quite depressed by this point. And sadly I had to call off going to Karen’s 30th birthday afternoon tea celebration in the afternoon (*sobs*). Not great to be ill around a pregnant lady! Ben stayed at home and played on the Xbox looked after me. On the plus side, we did watch a lot of Game of Thrones.

Sunday, thankfully, I was feeling better but still shattered. And not well enough to run my planned 18 miler. CUE PANIC. Postponed until next weekend now. Let’s just not talk about my marathon rubbish training shall we??

But we had a meal planned for 2pm to celebrate Ben’s birthday. So I actually got dressed and looked presentable for the first time of the weekend.

IMG_6091 The meal unfortunately didn’t go as planned. We were slightly late (*cough* parent’s fault) and we rung the restaurant to tell them we’d be 10 minutes late. They were quite rude on the phone and told us to get there ASAP as they stop serving food at 2.30pm.

When we did arrive at 2.15pm no one served us and when we hurriedly tried to get notice of someone (because we were running out of time!) they either ignored us or said rather tersely “I’m with a customer”. Finally we managed to get the attention of a waiter and he vaguely pointed at a table and told us “well, there’s your table” and then said “you have nine minutes to order”. Oh right. Well we told them no thank you and left. It was just terrible. Yes we were late, but we had rung and if it was so much of an issue they should have told us on the phone. And then to be treated really rudely and in an off-hand way. Hello, we’re paying customers.

FYI, that’s The Plough in Winchester. I’d walk on by that one in future.

Well, in the end we found a lovely restaurant called The White Horse in Otterbourne. Lovely service, lovely food.

I had an orange, chicory and goat’s cheese salad to start and then my favourite, Caesar Salad with a side portion of braised red cabbage (yep I am that strange).

The White Horse Absolutely delicious! Ben forced me to order a pudding at the end. Not for me, I’ll hasten to add as I was quite full, but so he wouldn’t look greedy as he wanted two. Yep that’s Mr Two Puddings Smith.

IMG_6095 Ginger cake with caramelised bananas followed by pear and apple crumble with salted caramel ice cream. He had run 16.5miles in the morning so I’ll let him off 😉

And then we got home where I promptly collapsed on the sofa exhausted.

So a strange weekend of lovely peaks (good food, family time) and depressing troughs (sickness, no running and no cake).

What are your highs and lows of this weekend?

Have you ever ordered two puddings at a restaurant?

What’s the worst service you’ve ever had?

Not a great start to marathon training…

So marathon training hasn’t gotten off to a great start. I’d love to say last week was filled with great runs and feeling strong and fast. Not quite.

Ages ago I mention I had a bit of a groin pain. I still felt it when I ran in Mexico and I also started to feel a discomfort in my hip on the other leg to the one I had previous ITB issues. God I sound like I’m falling apart. But I kept things very easy in Mexico and as soon as I got back I booked in a couple of sessions with my physio. I love her. She’s a blessing. Definitely sending her a Christmas card.

She worked her magic, used ultra sound, gave me a great stretch and, boom, groin pain gone.

FYI, groin issues are SO awkward to be ultra sounded. Bikini line central.

But I’m fed up. The groin thing was just a tweak. The ITB thing and my hips aching after runs are not. I’ve been hip strengthening diligently every other day and cannot believe my left leg is starting to feel like my other one did a few months ago. Seriously??!

I’ve tried to improve my form. I’ve also taken up spinning and pump.


I’m practically attached to my foam roller every idle second I get. But it seems nothing is working.

I was despairing. My body was rebelling against me. Does it really not like running? It just crumbles after a few races.

But I took a breath and decided to do something about it properly. I.e. not read haphazard advice on the Running World injury forums (the depths of hell by the way – depressing stuff).

So (and this makes me so happy and excited!) I signed up to six sessions of running technique coaching. I needed someone to look at how I run and basically fix me.

What I look like when I run

My physio can massage and stretch the pain away but she can’t help me in terms of why it’s happening. My running coach (I love that I can say that) videoed me running and watched me do different exercises to analyse how I was moving. And the observations weren’t great.

I drop my hip. My glutes aren’t firing. I over stride. My knee drops inward. My arms fly around the place. My legs don’t kick back far enough.

Then he got me working on strength exercises designed and worked with me on my running form. Honestly, I cannot begin to tell you how much I’m learning and how much I love these sessions. I finally feel like I’m getting somewhere!!

What does this mean for me and running at the moment? Well, after the half marathon last week I’ve been taking it easy on the running and letting my hip calm down. Instead, I did lots of spinning and body pump. I didn’t even do Parkrun. And my coach has me doing strength moves and stretches every day.

I just hope I’m ready or the Great South Run (10 mile race) this weekend. I’m definitely considering readjusting my goals if necessary. As much as I’d love to hit a certain time, if my hip discomfort hasn’t gone by then then it’s not worth pushing it. The GSR is one stepping stone towards the bigger goal: the marathon.

Have you ever had a running coach? It might only be for six sessions, but I’m fully loving it!

Have you had a long-standing ‘niggle’ or injury that you feel has held you back?

What’s your favourite strength move? Though they are tough, I do like planks. You just switch off and hold on.