Training – week 4

So this week has been a really good week (except the food issue but I’m getting back on track slowly).  Tough Mudder didn’t take it out of me anywhere near as much as I thought it might, probably due to having to stop for others a lot so I was able to get out running again on Monday during my lunch.  Tuesday I was out again and this time did a hill run which was quite tough, Wednesday I repeated Monday’s route and improved my time (there’s a strava segment I want to get to the top of the leaderboard on ha ha).  I also managed circuits on Wednesday and there were only 4 of us in the class so we got through everything which was a nice change.  Last week we were in pairs and I found that my partner and I were stuck behind a slower pair, not their fault obviously but that doesn’t stop the frustration.

On to Thursday and running club.  We met at the usual place and Steve said we were heading the other direction.  Out the park and up and over the bridge and it looked like we were going up Kinnoull Hill which is really steep!  Bottom of the hill and we turn left though so maybe not.  But, alas, just a little way down the road and he turns up the way.  I’m kicking myself at this point as I hadn’t turned my running app on.  He turns up a very steep road and stops to tell us we will be working on hill sprints.  We go a little way up(I say a little but it felt far) and jog back down 5 times, then further up and down 4 times, then even further up and down 3 times.  I found the extra little bit each time difficult at first and could really feel it in my calves but kept going.  We then run back down hill which I always find hard as I’m scared of falling! (Such a wimp) and back to park.  One of the other girls asks how far we had run and we estimate it to be about 5 miles which she is delighted with as she says she’s never run that far before.  It had been spitting with rain the whole time so I was drenched but I felt really good after that session! 

Friday was my long run – 13km for me.  First time I had needed the bathroom whilst out running and I really had to slow it down to prevent any, ahem, ‘accidents’ shall we say! Was very close!  Saturday I got to the gym to do the dreaded treadmill session and more weights and today I was back in the gym after climbing with the husband and the eldest son. 

What I have realised though is that I need to up my distance in my running – aim for 15km soon.  I’ve got the 10k Race For Life followed straight after with the 5k next weekend but the 5k will be more of a walk with my mum and daughter.  I also need to increase the weights at the gym.  I’m so scared of injuring myself though – like stupidly scared! Hopefully now my husband has signed up I can get him to push me on them and make sure my form is right so I don’t cause an injury. He saw me pushing 80k on the seated leg lift and said I didn’t look bothered by it – I need to be lifting a weight that heavy it’s almost impossible.  

Our joint training calendar starts next week – this is going to be interesting! 

Food – still learning at 33

Back in March I went out on my bike for the first time in about 8 months.  Thought I would be fine and genuinely didn’t think it would be that challenging.  

How wrong was I?!

I got about two thirds of the way round the Loch and I was done, and I mean done!  I’ve never felt exhaustion in my legs like that before.  I just could not keep pedalling and ended up even walking.  All I had had to eat was a Boost bar on the drive there and a can of red bull – I went cycling at lunch time.  Yes, I know (now), incredibly stupid.  It’s no wonder I couldn’t get round the Loch.

Fast forward 3 months and I’m much better with food now.  I eat quorn regularly at night with couscous, most days I will have bran flakes for breakfast for the fibre and I will even try and have lunch.  My diet isn’t great I know this – it’s the fear of putting on weight simply by eating and I need to get over that and understand food more.  I do drink protein shakes to help with my weight training as I understand I need protein and they help repair the muscles, but yes, still room for improvement.

The morning of Tough Mudder though was a complete fail.  I had planned on porridge for breakfast with one or two bananas along the way.  I ended up with red bull and a couple of biscuits someone had on the bus.  So yeah, I knew that was not acceptable.  What I didn’t know was that I was then going to feel ridiculously dizzy for 2 days after the event because I had drained my body so much.  Utterly stupid.  The event pushed me but I came out with no pain, no muscle soreness, nothing.  Just this dizziness because of my diet.  So the last 2 days I tried increasing high sugar foods as that has worked in the past and I’ve force fed myself meals.  I’ve also had to start on iron tablets to get that back up.  I came very close to falling over today (and at work of all places) so trust me, it’s lesson learnt on this.  

I did still manage a run today and my legs felt good, gave me a little boost in my confidence. Lunch time runs at work always feel good 😊

Tough Mudder – nailed it.

The event that started it all – Tough Mudder.  Didn’t have the best of nights beforehand, kept tossing and turning worried I was going to sleep in, which I didn’t, but we were still 10mins late for the bus – whoops.  After a sarcastic ‘hand clap’ when we got on the team started our 3 hour journey – man coaches are slow! 

We got there fine, winding our way through the gorgeous Scottish country side, over some very sketchy bridges but it was all good.  One ‘team member’ couldn’t move from the bathroom at this point, twists and turns when you’re hungover apparently don’t mix. 

  
We didn’t have too long once we got through registration and the weather was chilly with a little rain but perfectly fine.  We started with the warm up which was good fun and really quite lively! Count down from 5 and we were off! First obstacle was just a wall – easy.  Up and over job done.  Then we see the start sign – I still feel cheated over this ha ha.  So we did the trade mark chants and pledging allegiance down on one knee etc I even hugged 2 complete strangers (I cringe usually at that kind of thing).  Count down again and now we really are off.  I had a deal with a colleague to team up and drag each other through, as it was a mixed team quite a few of us did a ‘buddy’ system – made sense.  Just a short run to the first obstacle Kiss of Mud – crawling under barbed wire.  Short and sweet and didn’t really get muddy, job done.  More wall climbing followed, not too difficult, but one of the team seemed to be going over them all head first! Not recommended! 

The dreaded Arctic Enema was next – no one looks forward to that one.  Caged in a slide down in to the icy water and then 2 sets of tyres to duck and dive under.  I didn’t think I just went – as soon as I was down the slide I forced myself up to the surface.  All I could hear was ‘keep going, move, move,move’ so under the tyres I went then straight under the next set.  Best advice was not to stop.  I could feel my breathing starting to get too short to quick – it’s not an easy obstacle.  Done though, a fantastic bear roar from a guy in our team at the end of it.  

  
Birth canal was another testing one (cry baby after arctic enema was really easy!), it was here all crammed in I could feel my anxiety kicking in.  My buddy was at the end though trying to hold up the exit for me so it was head down and crawl.  It was here we had our first drop out, no prizes for guessing who – obstacle courses and hangovers unsurprisingly don’t mix.  Pyramid scheme wasn’t as difficult as I thought it was going to be either as my trusty old trainers were giving me good grip, I even managed to help pull up several team mates before running on and taking on the sewer rat – more water but a mantra of ‘1,2,3’ got me swimming to the other side. 

A wade through mud almost waist high, carry your team mate and then more wall climbing. After that it was Hold Your Wood.  I tried to get a small log but ended up with a fair sized one! Round the lake and my hubby was at the other side taking photos 🙂 He told me we had a mud mile to go and then the monkey bars aka Funky Monkey.  This was one of the ones I had been training for and wanted! Through the mud and in to queue.  We could hear a LOT of splashing – oh dear.  Joe was at the side saying I was going to need a hand up as they were high but my team mates yelled back ‘we’ve got her’ (knew this would happen at some point being such a shortie).  A good couple of minutes debating about gloves on or off and it was my turn.  First rung, oh crap, should have left gloves off, 2, 3, 4 and it was splash down.  Managed to splutter out to my mate to take his gloves off and he jumped down from the first rung and took them off.  He made it all the way across and was so pleased with himself, it was one of his goals too! 

  
Another mud mile and we lose 2 more of the team, one had a sore knee and the other went with her.  More running, more crawling, more climbing and we paused again at Quagmire.  By this time it was very difficult coping with the constant stopping for everyone to catch up – we had 21 in the team of all abilities.  1 or 2 wanted to keep going as they were hurting and just wanted to finish so a couple of us went on with them to help them out. 

Now it was Everest, and I’m not going to lie I was beginning to feel it a little in my legs but I knew I would just have to run at it and get up. My buddy went first and I don’t think he even needed a hand he flew up the thing!  I ran as fast as I could and just leaped for a hand.  I was pulled up and over and it was done! First attempt! We helped a few more up then climbed down and I walked back to see if I could see the others coming.  About 20 minutes later the first appeared and said one of our team had slipped on Quagmire and split her head open, blood everywhere.  She was ok but not allowed to carry on.  I felt so bad for her she was only 3 obstacles away from finish but the medics were having none of it.  We would just have to get her at the end.  Only about 4 of the rest of the team attempted Everest and we moved on to King Of The Swingers.

  
As bad as the Arctic Enema was this was worse! I didn’t realise you had to jump on to the swing, and it was a hefty drop too.  My aim was no longer to hit the bell it was now just to get on to the swing. My team mate was in front and they counted down (really quick!).  Knees bent but, nope, wasn’t for him.  ‘Are you sure?’ I asked him. He faced it again but then swung round and said no, you go.  Another count down and I just jumped, same strategy as before don’t think just do it, grabbed the swing, towards the bell then dropped.  In to the mucky water below.  I had managed to grab my nose before hitting it but I was taking ages and ages and ages to get back to the surface.  As soon as I was up I started swallowing the water and it took a good stern word with myself to calm down and focus! The Marshall with the tyre was right in front of me but I was not going to need to be rescued.  Out the water finally and a few deep breathes to calm down.  Job done.

We went as a team through the final obstacle, Electric Shock Therapy.  I wasn’t bothered about this one, I mean, how bad can it actually be? Probably should have focused more on the bale of hay I had to jump over first as I didn’t jump high enough and face planted the ground!  Great, just washed off at the King Of The Swingers and now I was muddy again.  I get up and right at the end I get a shock, yeah it’s sore but now I’m finished! I’ve done it!! THIS event made me feel I had achieved a goal!! 

  
As predicted I started shivering quickly, don’t know what it is but it always happens so I headed straight for the hose to get changed before it kicked in too bad.  My husband was on hand to try and shield some of my dignity (changing area was ankle deep in water so pointless).  Dry clothes on and food ordered – job done.  Yup, I ate a whole pizza!! 

I would undoubtedly recommend Tough Mudder to anyone willing to put some work in.  Was a fantastic day out and really felt like I had achieved something.  Even better was my husband saying at the start he had no doubts I could do it now! 

Definitely signing up for Total Warrior now ha ha.

Night Before Tough Mudder

It’s almost here, it’s a big one, it’s actually the very first one I signed up for – Tough Mudder.  Back in March, when I was anything but fit, I agreed to do it with work.  I had been thinking about it and wanted to do it with my other half but he was anything but keen.  Didn’t believe I could do it and, although he never said it in black and white, I know he didn’t want to do it with someone who would hold him back.  Fair enough.  But first, what been happening this week?

My running group was good last night, so good in fact I managed a few PB’s!  400m, 1 km, 1 mile, 2 miles.  Nothing immense but still fastest times yet.  I also managed a run at lunch time on Tuesday with a work colleague and that felt good – until he pushed for a sprint finish and it pulled a muscle in my top leg but it feels fine now.  Today I pushed out another 5k – no weights as circuits at work on Wednesday was still hurting my shoulders so I’m trying to be sensible.  Rest days don’t feel good at all though.  However, today’s 5k, another PB!  One I’m very pleased with!  Sub 26 mins is not far away!! 

So yeah, tomorrow.  I would be lying if I didn’t admit to being a little nervous, the water obstacles are playing on my mind a little, but I am surprisingly excited more than anything.  I am completely determined to complete the course and do all the obstacles.  Gutted there’s no bling but hey, there will be interesting photos to say the least….  Bus leaves at 6am (wtf!) so I’ve got red bull chilling and the comfiest of clothes to throw on – I’m taking my T In The Park hoody circa 2009′ oh yeah.

  
Wish me luck! 

Edinburgh Moonwalk 2015 – Done

So, the moonwalk.  An event for a very worthy charity, especially given breast cancer took my husbands mum from him at such a young age.  26.2 very long walking miles done.  So how was it? Let me tell you.

We had to be there between 8.30pm and 9.30pm then they lock the gates – a safety thing I presume I’m not sure.  Louise and I got the train at 6pm so we were there in good time.  Didn’t have a clue where to go after the train so we tried to ‘sneakily’ follow some fellow Moonwalkers until it was beyond obvious what we were doing so I just asked them if we could tag along – thankfully they said yes!  So we get there and we get locked in to this tent, it’s freezing cold (rain and wind, fab) and there are no seats.  There is however, The Red Hot Chilli Pipers – and they are fantastic:-). We were provided with a free meal and I have to say that also was great! But time drags on, and on, and on.  There’s a presentation but no one can speak on a mic very well so we can’t hear anything.  They do a little warm up with the crowd which I enjoy until the BFG in front of me gets too carried away and is completely unconscious about personal space and ends up stomping on my bad toe.  I wanted to ram my glow stick up her……

  
Louise and I don’t have the same start time but we were that fed up of waiting around that by half past 11 she snuck in to my group with the aid of my glow stick (yellow, not brown) and we were finally counting down to ‘Go Time’.  I braved the cold weather in the hope of a good photo at the start in my lovingly decorated bra – I stressed so much about my costume I was going to show it off! Under the balloons we went and this was it! We got to the first mile really quickly and we were quite pleased with our pace (jumper was on by now though).  Through the park and up towards the town.  We were a little anxious about going past the pubs but it was perfectly fine – and we loved seeing the landmarks lit up all pink.  We followed the route I had done in the Edinburgh 10k – up the dreaded hill at Arthur’s seat – ‘you ran this??’ Louise kept saying – yup, every blooming bit of it ha ha.  

  
Five miles in we were ‘ok’.  It was cold, it was wet, it was raining, the wind was picking up. But we were still in quite good spirits.  My brother was sending texts of encouragement ‘quit moaning’ and ‘get a move on’ – thanks bro.  We were not the fastest by any means but we were doing ok.  Conversations about politics, churches and how lovely the houses were kept us going (don’t ask ha ha).  By 10 miles Louise was needing a bathroom stop so we kept going until about 12 and stopped.  It was a bit of a queue but to be honest I was welcome of the break too as my legs were beginning to hurt so I wanted to put some gel on – Tough Mudder the following weekend was NOT going to be put at risk over this.  I was ignoring the blister feeling on my foot also – if you don’t believe it’s there then it isn’t.  Anyway the queue was taking that long some girls were talking of wee’ing behind the wall – no need. 

  
Back on the road and we finally hit half way point – yeah!!!! Oh, no, now it’s the seafront.  And not only is it the sea front but it’s the gale force winds to accompany the cold rain – great.  And of course you’re not allowed to run, you can only walk.  This was no longer fun, the blister was no longer fictional, my costume was no longer appropriate.  We were doing this why? I tried to entertain Louise by pushing to get our fastest 1k (yes I had strava on, bite me) but that only worked for about 1k.  Her hips were really giving her problems by about 18miles and my legs were beginning to ask ‘why??’ – she wanted to stop for another toilet break and I honestly thought she was going to quit.  By now I was already settled on not doing this challenge again so I was having a conversation with myself about what to do if she said she wanted to quit.  At about 20 miles we stopped and I sat down whilst she queued for half an hour for the toilet.  The break did us both good and we soldiered on determined at least to keep going despite the morning sun and warmth we had been counting on never appearing, hmmf.

Finally we reach 25 miles and by now there is no talking, just sad faces longing for the finish line.  It’s pretty much down hill so it’s ok.  We make our way back in to the park and by now it’s just a passing photo of mile 26, I’m not stopping.  On to the grass, under the balloons and over the finish line – there were no smiles for the photo.  There was also no atmosphere.  We were met with a medal but that was it.  No cheers, no noise, no music – nothing.  Our plan was to have a rest before heading for the train but it was that deflating we went straight for the bus to the train station.  The woman on the bus were saying the same – ‘never again’.  Luckily we didn’t have to wait long for the train and I had been smart and booked seats – very grateful for this forward thinking! My brother offered to pick us up from the train station and my dad even phoned asking as well but Louise was confident she could drive us home.  Once she had had a snooze on the train of course 🙂

It’s such a shame but I just don’t feel like I really accomplished anything with this challenge.  I don’t know if it was because there was no ‘push’ with it or if the weather really did get to us that much but I’m sorry to say it’s not one I will be doing next year.  A lot of people I’ve spoken to have all said it’s something they would only ever do once and I can understand this.  Many of the walkers who had signed up for Over the moon (52 miles) quit after 26 – this doesn’t surprise me. 

On to Tough Mudder though! Just 3 days to go!! 

  

Stressing Out – Before the Moonwalk

its not been a great week to say the least.  As predicted I haven’t been able to get out on my runs as usual.  Got my long one completed on Sunday so that was good but on Monday my legs were hurting so I decided to use the cross trainer instead and finished off with weights.  Tuesday I took the youngest up Moncreiffe Hill with a buggy that had a flat tyre.  11km up and round and boy were my shoulders hurting after! Felt like an intense weights session ha ha.  I went back up later that night with my daughter (she’s 10) to do hill sprints as per training schedule.  Got a little scared though as there were 3 very suspicious looking men there and the first thing that came to mind was child trafficking! Don’t ask me why.  Wednesday I managed circuits class and a little 7km walk and Thursday was a 14km walk.  

That takes me to Friday, and waking up with really sore legs at the side at the top.  Get out of bed and I’m walking like an old lady – not good when the moonwalk is the next day.  Tried to ignore it and walked in to town and back so I could measure myself on a machine in Boots (interestingly I seem to grow one week then shrink the next ha ha).  Not the best idea.  It’s now Saturday afternoon and the pain is not going – how I’m going to manage 26 miles tonight is anyone’s guess.  

The girl I’m doing it with has been in frantic contact though so does look like she is coming – that’s a bonus.  Typically though I haven’t finished my bra:-( Hence why I’m so stressed.  Oh, that and the fact I’ve not managed to reach my target of a measly £150 – this makes me very sad:-( 

I will keep going though, and I will complete the 26 miles.  After I will badger anyone and everyone to get to target. 

And next week…… it’s back to running more…..and then Tough Mudder!  

Top Hat is done at least

Week 1 of Half Marathon Training

I’ve found a training programme to help me get prepare for a half marathon (nothing special, think they are all the same really) so started it this week.  Farklets were quite interesting!  I decided to do them on the treadmill as it was done on time and I find it difficult to ignore distance when I am out.  I was sweating!! Felt a bit of an idiot going fast then slow on the treadmill but never mind.  As I was at the m I managed to get some weights in too in preparation for Tough Mudder.  I can now proudly say I can do pull ups on the bar at home:-) They are so much tougher than you think!  Well, if you’re unfit I guess, but I can do them now 🙂

I also went to my first session at the running club – another big step forward.  There were about 10 people, all of whom had been before.  We started off with a timed 5k and I thought I had been quite clever leaving my phone in the car but nope, everyone had theirs, and their sports watches (I had also left this at home, oops).  We were stood in a line waiting for everyone’s gadgets to load and I was desperately trying to get up the courage to say ‘I’m not really very fast, I don’t know how long this is going to take me’.  The words never came though and all of a sudden we were off.  There was the usual guy – EMF Finisher t-shirt, shorts, £600 sports watch, loads of stories of ‘when I did this’ – we all know the kind.  Anyway he was off, shock horror.  Surprisingly though I was only 2 people behind him, and I have to say, I was quite pleased with that! My run was timed at 26mins 28 and I think we get timed again after the 5 sessions – be curious to see if I improve on that.  We then did some ‘cadence’ which I couldn’t really get the hang of but we have to try it on our runs for the next week so we will see.

My mum is away for the week so I doubt I’m going to get to a lot of my sessions unfortunately.  I need to make my costume for the moon walk next weekend – something I am now petrified of doing.  How I didn’t realise I have to do it in my bra I do not know!  It’s the whole point!  It doesn’t look like the girl I am meant to be doing it with is that committed either so looks like I am on my own – in a bra – in the middle of the night – with no one even at the start or finish:-( I’m dreading it.  I won’t pull out but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to.  

They say the hardest things are the most rewarding – here’s hoping.