Sunday – As much as I wanted a nice lie in I was awake on and off during the night and then again from 7.30am. Pure excitement for the Great North Run!
Last year I lined up with countless others on the motorway and ran under the smoke of the Red Arrows, in the footsteps of Mo Farah, to complete my first half marathon race.
I was just over four weeks post lumpectomy, had had to take three weeks off running to start healing and, what should have been my taper week the week before, saw me trying to run and learn quickly how to manage the discomfort I was in. At the Great North Run I ran in one sports bra and was thankful of the crowds and excitement of the day…it helped me cope with the pain. Getting to the end was one of the best, proudest days of my life. Dealing with the discomfort I did during that race helped me realise that I could face chemo head on, that I could do anything I needed to…I just had to be determined.
I watched the race full of pride for my fellow runners…
each with their own different story which had got them to that start line.
Mid-afternoon I did a little gardening but was mindful to take things steady and put my feet up afterwards.
Monday – Day one of headtorch use while running, or so I thought…once out and only a few yards down the road I realised I’d be fine without it.
I didn’t take it off my cap though – I realised how much I need to get used to it and its weight on my head, the tightness of the band and pressure it applies. Something I’d recommend to my fellow runners as we get towards the clock change and darker mornings! If nothing else dig out your reflective gear and check it all, check your batteries in your headtorch work, and now is a good time to freshen up those base layers too.
I maintained a zone 2 heart rate for most of my run, slowly but surely I’m being more able to pace quicker at a lower heart rate – a mark of fitness which makes me really proud. My run went well and no niggles in my right leg, my left quad was tight but I expect that was due to the gardening I’d done on Sunday afternoon.
Once home the rain started and I ended up doing a spot of blackberry picking in a downpour…worth it given their sweetness.
It was the start of a few weeks of working 1pm to 5pm – I won’t lie, by the time I finished I was mentally exhausted…I just wanted to sleep! That extra half hour had the biggest impact I’ve felt in a while and is a concern.
Tuesday – I was wary of doing too much and playing my back up before my follow up appointment with my physio, and so only did half an hours cardio pilates mix before my daily Yoga practice. I didn’t have any discomfort during either, so was pleased when my physio checked my back and legs over and said that the tension was definitely less – the exercises I’m doing, plus her massage the week before, had started to move things in the right direction. She again massaged my back, this time I had discomfort but not to the point of willing her to stop like the week before.
I left walking on a cloud and made sure to be very posture away as I got the bus into the City.
I had a meeting with Heather from Weston Park Cancer Charity to discuss my blog, my treatment and how I’m doing now…plus how the Support Centre has helped me. I talked at her for a good few hours but hopefully that gave her all the details she will need. It feels very rewarding to be working with them to help raise awareness, plus help draw in much needed funds.
I was going to go to the Museum afterwards but realised both how tired I was, and that I had a bus home due very soon. I got back drained, changed quickly and went to spin class. The time passed quickly and it was a great session…no hovers or stood sprints though in order to support my back.
Wednesday – I had one of THOSE kinds of starts to the day!
I’d slept badly, at one point being awake most of an hour and I did wonder about getting up even earlier and going for my run.
Thankfully I fell back to sleep but then my alarm woke me. As I went through the house and put my porridge on to cook the microwave died 20seconds in. I checked the fuse, socket and for any signs of fire…all fruitless. Thankfully I’d done overnight oats and was just wanting it warmed, eating it cold wasn’t as nice but put into me what I needed. I looked at the weather forecast and it said 15C, but that it would feel like 11C and be rainy – so I put on my waterproof jacket!
As I stepped out the door and felt the warmth in the wind I knew there may be a problem. Within 6K I was sweating that much it was running down my face like a waterfall. Between Bamford Station and The Yorkshire Bridge Pub is 2K of climb. I got a thumbs up from a cyclist part way up, both of us gasping for breath. By the time I’d got to the top my heart rate was through the roof and I near blacked out. I crossed the road and stopped, took off my hydration vest and waterproof jacket…pleased of the fact I could get my jacket into one of my hydration vest pockets. I set off on a steep downhill, had my energy gel and slowly got cool and back in control. It was 9miles of hard work but I felt so much better in the second half and the views were breathtaking!
Back home I felt really good all day…and thankfully no more disasters! I wasn’t too tired and work went really well. I made sure to eat well and keep myself hydrated…this week and next being my peak weeks, tuning in to my bodies needs is even more important.
Thursday – Sometimes you just know it’s too much.
As I was having the day off I had a little lie in before my 6.5K run. I got up feeling good and decided, due to the fact I’d hit zone 5 for nearly 20minutes on Wednesdays run and a lot of the rest had been at anaerobic zone 4, that I’d go for almost a recovery run. I did a little warm up and thought I was pacing steady but from just under 3K in my heart rate was climbing. As I turned at half way for home it rose more and more. I kept hitting zone 4 and literally had to stop twice to lower it, other times walking. I got annoyed at myself and of course that made it raise again! As I got into the last couple of kilometres I counted my footsteps and breath, it worked and kept me at the lower end of zone 3 and dipped me down now and then into zone 2. I got home frustrated…then looked at my data. My pace was too quick from just after 2K to have been able to maintain a zone 2-3 run, as slow as I thought I was going I clearly wasn’t. Yes breathing and counting helped in my last 2K, but I’d also paced where I needed to.
I had time to get changed and rest a little before my friend picked me up for a day out with her pooch at Chatsworth.
They currently have an exhibition in both house and gardens to celebrate dogs. Being able to take Luna round was wonderful and she had as good a time as us, lots of sniffs and dog chat!
Thursday marked a big event for me – I’ve been awaiting the Ultra Challenges Team opening registration for next years Thames Path Challenge for a while, and can now confirm that on 12th September 2020 I will set off from Bishops Park in London between 6.45-7am as a runner, to complete my first 100K Ultramarathon as a one day event.
I hope to finish in under 15hrs…there are no time constraints but that’s my personal goal – and will still see me finish in the dark!
Friday – A dark start to the day and, while my back no longer felt tender, I made sure to do 10minutes of Yoga To Wake Up before my 50minutes upper body strength training session. I then completed my physio exercises in order to release any tension I may have built up within that hour, then finished with 25minutes more yoga – for Head & Heart.
Due to the arrival of our new microwave and space being a premium, I had a morning cleaning and then a lovely drive through sunny country lanes to Buxton Recycling Centre before work.
Saturday – Part of me wanted to set off for my run early, infact on Friday evening I’d decided that if the weather was good, my pre-run weight spot on and I’d slept well…then I’d only have porridge and run an hour earlier. Fate decided that was a bad idea and all three things were slightly off. Instead I had my porridge, banana and jam and gave it my two hours before setting off – I was pleased I listened to fate because I had a really good soul full run! The first hour I lost to listening to the birds and my foot fall, not really even thinking…just being. I’d done a loop near home and expected to only have done 6K but my watch buzzed 8K as I crossed the road near the local pub. First gel down I quicken my pace slightly, but went slowly enough to feel comfortable…mindful of it only being a few weeks to marathon day, plus I didn’t want to wear myself out to be honest.
The path down the side of the reservoir did begin to feel quite long, especially when the sun got higher and the mist had disappeared. Coming back however I again felt like time shifted.
The last 2K once again messed with my head though, I think it’s the knowledge of nearly being home and the impatience to get there…I didn’t want to stop, but I did all at once.
Once back and looking over my data I was proud to see that I’d kept my run over zones 2, 3 and 4 – no extreme heart rate issues like I’d had Wednesday. My pace had steadily quickened all the way through and at 3hours 42minutes I was pretty pleased with how my 18miles had gone. It also felt very strange knowing that I’ve my 20mile run next weekend and then that’s it – taper time!
We had the day together thanks to a change of work schedule for my fiancé, so decided to be ridiculous and go all the way to Sheffield for a coffee! Except we don’t do anything by halves and so went to two of the best coffee spots we know of in the City – Steam Yard for a creamy, smooth cappuccino and kronut.
Then Bragazzis for traditional Italian charm and a rich dark americano.
We had the evening out, celebrating the end of the Be Kinder event at Edale – a walking trail and art installation, which are part of the National Trusts Peoples Landscape project. The evening had been arranged beautifully by local chap and celebrity Jarvis Cocker.
Sunday – My legs feel a little tight but not in any way uncomfortable after yesterday. I admit I felt nauseous most of Saturday, but it too has passed – it’s something I have often on long run days. It’s quite normal as running for hours limits digestive function, your body puts its energy into your muscle function instead…hence why you can feel nauseous, be physically sick or have runners trots. It can also however be a sign of dehydration and too much sun – so can be hard to determine the reasoning behind if, like me yesterday, it’s not obvious why it happened.