Friday, 31 December 2010

Sore feet, lots of laughing and another newspaper article!

The plan for this week was 90 miles. So far I have managed 84, so it looks like I will make the mileage for the week. Which quite frankly seems both ridiculous and mad. How can a plodder like me really run 90 miles in a week and live to tell the tale???

Here's how - don't think about it!

So many times I have got up early with 20+ miles to do on my own in the dark, and been filled with trepidation, dread, worry..... and so many times I have finished the 20+ miles. So, the moral of this story is, cut out the worry, and just get it done. I have found comedy podcasts fantastic to run to, they really make the time pass quickly. Plus you seem to look really friendly! Whilst listening to my comedy stuff today on the run, lots of people seemed to be smiling and waving at me - it may well have been because I was running along laughing out loud!

Although my detachable spikes have been great for keeping me upright in the snow, they did leave the soles of my feet quite sore. I suffer with blisters on my forefoot quite regularly, so tape them if there is a problem. After Monday's icy run my feet didn't really recover until today, Friday. Thursday's run was very uncomfortable. Due to the mileage I really need to look after my feet on a weekly basis. But that's exactly the kind of thing that goes out the window when I am tired, and boy am I tired!!

Some very good news this week was that the Rhyl Journal would like to run an article on the RunWales Challenge with a view to getting local runners and running clubs out to run with me whilst I am in North Wales. This is fantastic news, as the more company I have, I am sure the better it will all be. It will also be great to have some more publicity for the run up North to help with charity donations.

It is only 5 weeks of proper training now before I start winding down for the event itself. I have said that I won't do anything like this again, but there is nothing like the satisfaction of knowing you are managing to do what you truly thought was unmanageable - it's quite an addictive feeling really!

Monday, 27 December 2010

Get a Grip!!

Over the last week the deep snow has been trampled underfoot and refrozen overnight. Running in road shoes has been similar to taking your life in your hands, offroad shoes made the scenario little better. However, I had been organised and planned for just such an eventuality! I am now the proud owner of a pair of "Get a Grip" tungsten carbide spike outsoles. They are fantastic!

I have now done 2 runs in them, today's was 14 miles of alternate slush and sheet ice. The blue circles house a 1/4 inch tungsten carbide spike, which is apparently harder than steel. On contact with ice, it sinks in and grips the ice fantastically well. Running with them on tarmac is just plain awkawrd, not to say noisy!
At first I was very nervous about running on the ice, but soon learned I was totally safe. I have had plenty of incredulous looks from passerbys. I want to shout at them, "It's ok, I'm not as mad as I look, I am prepared!!". I did see a couple of runners out today, running in road shoes, no spikes on the sheet ice. Now that really is mad. They were both running slowly and gingerly, you wouldn't have caught me running with them.
Last week, I managed 34 miles. Which given the weather, and the time of year, and the fact that I had no childcare for the boys, was pretty good. This week the plan is 90 miles, but I will just do the best I can.
90 miles seems so huge, that I try not to think about it. I just run whatever I have for the day, usually in multiples of 3 miles. It's a good distance to think of runs in. 3 miles is a short run, an easy distance, one that I can do no matter how bad I feel, so I just keep on doing my next 3 miles until I am done.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Even snow hasn't stopped me - yet!

Ran a stunning, but tough 15 miles today in about 5 inches of snow, with Nina.

I really didn't think we would last the distance judging by the first breathless mile, but we did it, and enjoyed it! We did get a lot of strange looks from people, and a few people even went on to comment how "brave" we were (probably they meant mad, but were being polite!)

Nina and I always run together on snowy days, as she only lives round the corner. Normally I wouldn't be able to keep up with her as she is a 3.3o marathoner, but in the snow she slows down for me, and we had a blast today. Unfortunately she isn't running tomorrow, and I have another 15 miles to do. Maybe I can persuade someone else to join me for a plod in the snow...... any takers???

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Running - a glimpse of life

I just wanted to share a couple of things I witnessed whilst running, that I wouldn't have seen otherwise, and that made me really think about what it is to be human.

I passed an elderly man standing at his door waiting for his delivery of "meals on wheels". His cardboard and tinfoil packed lunch was being delivered by a young man in his early 20s. The young man handed over the packets, and almost simultaneously answered his mobile phone. The elderly man seemed to be hard of hearing, and a little confused, as the "meals on wheels" worker turned towards his car and spoke into the phone, already involved in the next part of his day the man called out "So, are you all ready for the snow?"

It really touched me the difference between the two men's worlds. The young man, pressured, busy, and moving quickly from one job to the next, concentrating on the things that needed to be done. The older man, trying to make contact with the outside world, and feel a connection to those around him, making conversation for the sake of having someone to talk to, not realising the pressure the young man was under.

The whole encounter was over in a matter of seconds. The old man was left staring off down the road as the meals on wheels van sped off into the distance.

The second scenario I witnessed whilst running down the cycle track past the Bikeability centre. The centre provides modified bikes for use by disabled children and those with learning difficulties as well as the general population. On the tarmac was a young lad of about 16 on a large trike, cycling with vigour around the track, singing at the top of his voice. It seemed he was unable to contain the enthusiasm and enjoyment he was experiencing, and was literally singing it out.

I love the solitude of running, but I also love the way in which at a sedate running speed you are able to take a glimpse into the lives of those around you. Whilst you pass you are offered a snapshot of what it is like to be someone else, and for this privileged view I am truly thankful.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Funding news

Corus Steel have agreed to help fund the Run Wales Challenge! This is particularly good news, as it now means I can book the couple of B&Bs we need, and I don't need to worry about fuel costs, or scrimping on food.

I have run 75 miles this week. Having sprained my ankle last Friday, I'm pretty pleased with the mileage! My ankle is still not fully healed, but it is no worse after a run than before, and although still a little puffy, it is recovering but probably just a bit slower than if I'd had my feet up all week. It has been shockingly cold again, with the water in my camelbak drinking tube freezing whilst running a couple of times. It has been a challenge in this weather, especially as the pavements have been so icy. Most of the week was run along the front on the flat, which made for very dull running. My Wednesday run, was particularly challenging, mostly I think because I had already decided before I started that it was going to be hard. It was also the first time ever I have had to wear 2 pairs of trousers to keep warm. My weather station was saying -5 degrees when I started. On Thursday I ran with a group for the middle few miles, and that made a huge difference.

I am glad it is looking not quite as cold next week. The plan is to run 83 miles. This week my legs have been sore whilst running, but have recovered really quickly. I managed to fall over again today in the last mile of my 20 miler, no serious damage just a bit of a bruised hand. I think the fall was mainly down to tiredness. I had to get up at 5.45am in order to get as many miles done as possible before I met up with Helen's group at Pontardawe. These days I really understand it when people say they find it impossible to run on their own. I do too!! Running to a group, running a few miles with company and then running back to my car is the only relatively painless way I can get my long runs done, and I have about 4 long runs a week. Thank god for all the Women's Running Network groups!

I have also contacted some newspapers in North Wales in the hope of getting some company for the first 3 days of my run. So far no-one has offered to run with me in Anglesey, but I have a couple of people for Snowdonia, and from Mid Wales on I'm fine. I know that having people to run with especially towards the end of each day will make a huge difference. The WRN PR person has also been contacting the media on my behalf and it seems I will be in my local paper on Monday!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Mini Disaster

After missing my long run last week because hubby was too ill to be left in charge of the kids, I was intent on getting back up to 80 miles this week. Everything was going well until Friday, when whilst walking (yes walking) back to stretch with my running group I put my foot in a hole and sprained my ankle.

I knew it was quite bad as I instantly felt sick, even whilst I was lying on the ground giving instructions to my group to meet me in the carpark. I managed to hobble back to the carpark and go through the stretches with them. I then decided I'd try and walk it off with the hope of finishing the last 8 miles of my run. I did try and run, but it was sore, and I was sensible. So I phoned Ben and he drove to my rescue.

I had a little moment in the car when I thought the Run Wales may be all over, then gave myself a metaphorical shake and decided not to worry.

During the weekend I plastered my ankle in Arnica every few hours, iced it, massaged it, stretched it, and got started with some wobble board exercises. It was quite swollen and the bruising was fairly impressive. By Sunday it was a lot better and I actually decided a run was in order. 3 miles later and the ankle was fine, no issues at all. It was a bit stiff this morning, but no worse than yesterday. I have a massage booked for this morning, so that will help as well.

I am particularly proud of how I coped with my mini disaster though. In the past I would have been far more obsessive, and uptight. I was thinking on Friday though that I could make it a lot easier on myself, by just accepting it had happened and getting on with the recovery process. Injury usually follows the same route every time. Denial, anger, depression, acceptance, recovery. I skipped pretty quickly straight from anger through to acceptance and recovery. I don't have time to be in denial, or to get depressed about things!!

I have had to rework my schedule a bit, but I am hoping that with an extra massage this week, and some concerted strength work I will be able to get back up to major miles quickly. Although dodging the icy pavements this week could be interesting!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

No snow but it's cold!

Running in a windchill factor of -10 degrees, isn't funny.

Everyday I get my running kit on. Everyday I worry that my legs are sore, and that I won't be able to finish my run. Everyday I finish my run.

This ultra long distance training is so much more than logging the miles. It's about how much you want to log the miles. It's about coping with the demands the miles make on your body...... and it's about trying not to worry! At least for me it is.

The weather has made my training considerably harder. I am eating like a horse, and losing weight. I do hope this weather is the worst we will have this winter, or I may have to start eating chips for breakfast!