A BIG "Thank You" to all participants & supporters for making 2016 one to remember.
Glutes. It's one of those things I've heard lots of runners, athletes and wannabe athletes talk about as I scoff and think 'Pfff they're obviously not warming up enough and now they're moaning on about injury.” Well not anymore. The famous glutes, or gluteal muscles struck hard about two weeks ago, to the point where i knew I needed a bit of help.
I had been feeling a bit funny on my right hip for some time, and noticed that during long runs, my bottom started to feel very 'hard' in the cheeks. I could imagine drivers on the hard shoulder seeing a Kim Kardashian lookalike from the rear as I ran along, I became so aware of my ever strengthening hazlenut cracking buns. However, as I was to discover, this pain is caused by the 'glutes'.
I had my first physio session which instantly nailed the sight of the problem. Physiotherapists are amazing people and they work they do with recovering patients, whether sports, medical and accidental injury related, is phenomenal. The physio was quick to ask about my job and how much time I spend in the car each week. I do a two hour round-trip daily and sit quite a bit in studio. Obviously while I've been putting all the focus on running as exercise, it's important to remember that the stuff we do when not running can cause problems too.
There is a certain muscle in the lower abdomen (cannot remember the name of it) that can become quite troublesome if the body stays in a sitting position for long periods of time on a regular basis. The physio gave it a little prod. AGHHH you could hear me scream at the top of the Comeraghs. Anyway, we worked out that my hip issue is being caused by the glutes and so I had a wonderful session of what was really a painful but helpful massage on my bottom for an hour. It's quite tickly too so I found myself in the strange scenario of lying on the physio bed with lots of snorting and giggling. It's not quite the Hot Stone Massage with sounds of the ocean that I'm used to on my girlie spa weekends but ooh it did the job big style.
Ten weeks from WVM (God it sounds like some type of war doesn't it!) and I'm still on track. The Long Runs (they deserve capital letters) are getting LONGER and the short runs are becoming more frequent and I seem to be living in Lycra these days.
Since I last blogged I have seriously upped my game training-wise and had the lovely experience of the 5 mile Bunny Run last Easter Sunday, which started and finished at the RSC. Oooh, the next run that will finish there is the marathon. Gulp.
Firstly, I'd like to offer a massive congratulations to Jason King and Trevor Swift and all involved in the Bunny Run. It was a pleasure to run the 5 mile course dressed as a bunny, with the sun shining and everyone smiling all for a great cause – Waterford Hospice. I managed an easy 42 minutes with a comfortable pace of about 8.20 minute miles. Grr I still need to push just that teeny bit harder and afterwards I wondered if I did, maybe I'd have run a sub 40 minute 5 mile. Anyway, there's plenty of time left to do that and get to Trevor Swift and Brian Swaby standards (1st and 2nd) but it was a fantastically orchestrated event which brought runners, walkers and the families waiting around the RSC together. From burgers to bouncy castles, biscuits, Shrek and Donald Duck – the Bunny Run had it all. I even got my bunny ears on (though I got them, and the bow and tail from the hen section of Partyworld – what I didn't see that day SHOCK!!)
I'm into a new training plan thanks to Waterford AC's Brian Swaby, where, as I said, the Long Runs are really upping in mileage and I'm now out running 4 times a week rather than the 3 I had just about managed since January. Okay, it's hard. It's really bloody hard. But it will be worth it and it's only for the next ten weeks and I know I'll be so pleased that I stuck with it.
The long evenings and good weather make running such a pleasure especially on the heavy miles. From my memory of the other day, here's how my 16 mile Long Run generally fared out:
Hi again, welcome to the Mid-Term break blog. I hope you're running is coming along nicely and you're starting to feel like this marathon thing is actually possible at this stage! Not to sound like a total aul wan, but there's a great stretch in the evenings and it could even be time to move to my capri length running bottoms and put away the Helly Hansen thermals.
I've been off work on The Big Breakfast Blaa all week as the kids have school mid-term. It's been lovely to chill with them every day, and not set my alarm for 5.15am every morning! Even though I thought I'd get lots of extra running done, it hasn't panned out that way, but I'm sticking to my training schedule and can feel a noticeable improvement. I thought that working full-time would make it difficult to fit in running mid-week, but this week has been the hardest to get anything done. Being a stay-at-home mum is a very hard job and the only reason I'm here typing this blog is because Jack and Harry have gone swimming with their cousins so I have a two hour window woo hoo! You should see the state of the wardrobes.
My hat is off to all mothers who manage to stay at home with little ones and still find time for training. I've been ringing my husband at work to the point of stalking him, just to have some adult conversation this week. And it's been more difficult to get the runners on when he comes home from work at six o' clock and get out the door. Actually, I was all ready, in my running gear, on Pancake Tuesday evening, making pancakes for the troops with the intention of serving them up and getting out for a 30 minute session. But oh the hot pancake with melted nutella oozing everywhere proved too much. "Bite into this and thou shall not be able to run," said the voice of reason in my head. Nom nom nom, it was delicious. I stayed in my running gear watching the live Eastenders episode (which was very good) and 're-scheduled' my run to the following night. And had another pancake.
The long runs are coming nicely to me at this stage. I covered 8 miles on Sunday and look forward to bringing that into double figures soon. On Feb 7th I ran the Slaney Olympic Enniscorthy 10k in 53 minutes comfortably. I know the Anne Valley 5 mile was on the day before but I couldn't make it. Well done to all who ran it, especially the organisers who even included a race for the kids! The John Treacy in Dungarvan was a huge success recently too. It's great to see so many races at this time of year, not forgetting the weekend running groups who continue to help people build up mileage in a fun, social way. I've heard the Saturday runners are a great bunch and of course the Sunday runners that leave at 9am from the Supervalu car park. Check them out on FB, there's nothing like a bit of company on a long 10mile.
Holy Moses this is really happening! It's nearing the end of March and Spring has arrived with summer hot on its heels and there's just over 13 weeks until I stand at the starting line of the 2015 Waterford Viking Marathon.
I won't lie. I'm not exactly hyped up in full marathon mode as I type this right now, but I'm getting there. I've had a pretty hectic weekend hosting the Deise Jigs & Reels Freestyle in Cappoquin on Saturday night and then off to Wexford Park to support our hurlers in a fabulous display against Wexford at Wexford Park on Sunday. Somewhere between the match and now I have developed what my children call 'gammy eyes' and am writing this blog from my bed with a very bad dose of conjunctivitis. It's highly contagious and my two boys (and husband) are literally keeping me at arm's length. My husband has moved into the spare room incase he comes in contact with me or my pillow in his sleep (so I really am a lonely long distance runner) and Harry, our 4 year old takes one look and me and yelps 'yikes' like when Scooby Doo sees the monster! He actually stood frozen with his back to the wall when I walked past him last night. He has that 'every man for himself' and 'survival of the fittest' mentality'. It seems our older son Jack, 7, is the more sensitive soul. He actually started to cry when I told him it was better to high five me instead of our usual kisses and hugs before school this morning. But like Jesus to the lepers, he defied the infection protocol and made his way to my bedside to kiss and hug his mammy. Oh son!!!
The reason I'm explaining this is because I committed a cardinal running sin - I put off the LONG RUN yesterday (14 miles) thinking I could do it today and now it looks like I'm going to miss it altogether this week.
To a rational person this shouldn't really matter. But to anyone training for a marathon, long runs are vital, they're what it's all about really and the guilt of missing one hangs over you like a dark cloud until you actually go out and do it. So you could say I have icky conjunctivitis (rampant in many crèches at the moment by the way) and Runner's Guilt. However, up to this, my training plan for this month (see link) from Brian Swaby is going well and I'm feeling stronger and fitter than my previous time out on this Marathon road.
I had been struggling last month with grasping the 'speed' interval sessions. Every marathon runner wants to shave some time off their previous record, whether it's a few minutes or even an hour. I'm no different and have made no secret of the fact that I think I SHOULD be capable of changing tack and upping my speed. I met with Brian Swaby (Waterford AC/ Swaby Sessions / Unbelievably fit and running loving man) a few weeks back for a speed session at the track in the RSC here in Waterford. Running on the track is a great experience and it was amazing to see so many running groups there all with the same purpose - enjoy running, get fit, achieve, believe, excel.
Brian was quick to rectify my mistakes (I was running too fast and then exhausting myself) and yet managed to get me to up my pace to a 'fastER' level comfortably doing 8 to sub8 minute miles as speed. Speed is not sprinting, it's simply a faster than normal pace without over-exertion. I'm finally there and incorporating it into my running more and more.
It's been an interesting few weeks since I last blogged, with anti-biotics, new runners, a broken washing machine and apple-cider vinegar all featuring strongly!!
At this time of year, bugs are flying about the place so I guess it was inevitable when I started to feel a bit off (and feel very sorry for myself too.) Like most mothers, I just plough on without going to the doctor but would have the kids there in a flash if they were sick. Painful ears, a sore throat and aching bones eventually brought me to my GP who prescribed Distaclor anti-biotic for tonsillitis.
I lay in bed feeling rubbish and kissing goodbye to that week’s training plan. When you're hard pushed to turn on the electric blanket or put on your fleecy pyjamas, you know running is out of the question! I guess the one thing I've learned is just to let it go. When you're sick, you're sick and there's no point lying in bed feeling guilty for missing your long run or speed training session. The marathon is now 21 weeks ago, plenty of time to allow for a bad week here or there. As my husband reminded me – I am not Paula Radcliffe. It's ok to be sick, enjoy the pampering and the reading of OK! And Closer while the rest of the family forage for food to call dinner.
A few days into my misery and a call from my Marathon trainer Brian Swaby (Waterford AC), really gave me a boost. It's good to have someone to bounce training worries off of, and he was happy for me to let a few runs go and jump back on in a few days’ time. It takes a good 10 days for antibiotics to leave the system and they can be draining, heavy and tiring.
The market is awash with whey, protein and lots of 'go-faster' juices which I'm sure are just wonderful and help runners the world over. I'm happy enough with my daily Vivioptal or Multibionta but I've added a new ingredient to my list. Did you ever 'google' yourself into an early grave? Well, when I'm bored and can't sleep I sometimes google my symptoms. Stupid, I know! The stiff, aching joints continued after being sick last week so I decided I must have the early signs of osteo-arthritis. Running continued to be hard with my stiff fingers (ok so I wasn't actually running on my fingers) and stiff toes. A friend once recommended Apple Cider Vinegar for joint pain and arthritis. Wow is all I can say. Costing around €4.00 for a bottle with 'the mother', I held my nose and downed shots of the stuff three times a day for two days. It's recommended to take it with some honey in hot water, but I wanted to go hard-core and get it into me fast. Two days later and the joint pain was gone, so I'm sticking with a shot a day just to make sure it doesn’t come back. Apparently it's great for dieters too… it can remove warts, helps with smelly feet, dandruff, sunburn and diabetes. Whoop.