In Bruges (It’s in Belgium)

Hi all,

and sorry for the silence! This blog has become very quiet but one day I will pick it up again and start writing more frequently (I promise).

However, for now, I just wanted to share few pictures and thoughts from our trip to Bruges.

A lot of people asked me why Belgium when I told them I was going there for the long weekend. My main reason? The film In Bruges. Anyone who has seen it will hopefully understand why I had the temptation to see it myself.

Me and JP flew to Brussels and spent a day there as I thought we may as well see the capital while there. Brussels was… not sure how to describe it. It was just like any other European city with nothing that really jumped at me. The EU buildings looked big and gave the city a “businessy” look but few streets down there was a lot of obvious poverty and dirt etc. It was very strange.

I actually preferred the areas out of the city centre as it almost looked like Italy or Spain with its narrow streets, sunshine, and people drinking beer on the little corner cafes with clothes hanging on balconies. The cool thing was that lots was going on in the centre as well, in the couple of hours there I saw a really good Dutch man singing on the street, and two women dancing off a building (yes I mean off the building). They were hanging from two strings that were on the roof of the building and they were dancing on the wall. It was incredible!

Anyway, following day we went to Bruges which is about 1 hour away from Brussels. It was extremely busy and full of tourists – a lot of Japanese and Chinese tourists – which I found interesting. So Bruges must be famous outside of the film too.

My first thoughts were “this is so pretty and everything looks like a fairytale” (for anyone who has seen the film :D). However, after about few hours I had seen enough bridges and canals and I realised there really isn’t anything to do there. I slowly started to realise why in the film they call Bruges “a shithole”. I mean it wasn’t, it was very beautiful but after you’ve walked around for few hours you kind of feel like you have seen it all. Food was okay but nothing special (my favourite was pancakes)

Chocolates are usually my thing but they were very expensive as that’s what they are famous for. And Belgian beer, well after trying 3 different ones I established I’m not much of a beer drinker anymore haha!

JP not impressed after having to queue over an hour to the Bell tower 😀

Overall, it’s a lovely little city but it really can be seen in one day, we spent 2 days and I don’t think I could’ve stayed any longer. It has a lot of churches and other bits you can visit but maybe I’m not cultural enough to appreciate it all. I would love to hear thoughts from other people who have been. Am I just being too critical about it or is it actually a bit boring? 🙂

Would I recommend it? I’m not sure. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked our trip there but I don’t feel like I need to go again. Usually when I leave a place I like I can’t wait to return so I guess the fact I don’t think I’ll ever go to Belgium again says it all.

P.S. In Brussels we stayed at the Radisson Red hotel. If you ever find yourself in Brussels I would highly recommend it.

 

2016 Goals Evaluated

Hi all,

I do still exist 🙂

My blog has been living a silent life for most of this year but as we draw to the end of 2016 I wanted to go back and look at those goals I set at the start. I mean what’s the point in setting goals if you don’t go back and evaluate them right?

I wrote about my goals for 2016 back in January, you can read it here.

But below is a list and an answer to whether I accomplished them or not.

Pbs in every distance; 5km, 10km, half marathon and marathon

-20:30ish for 5km

-Sub 43min for 10km

-1:33 ish for half marathon

-3:25ish for a marathon

Soo my 5k time ended up being 20:38 so you could call that as being achieved. I never raced a 10km. Half marathon pb was 1:34:14 so I would say that was ticked as well. Marathon, well unfortunately I never raced one. I was too injured in the spring and in Berlin I decided to just run 39km instead of 42 ha! You can read about that here.

Linking with the injuries, my other goal was to stay injury free and that didn’t happen either. I guess I didn’t have any major injuries but still I did have to take few breaks from running.

 Get a new degree-related job!

I did land myself a job in February. Not exactly a psychology related job but a job that required a degree nevertheless, and one with great opportunities and career progression.

Write an amazing dissertation.

Well. I haven’t got the grades yet but not gonna lie, I think it’s safe to say we could take the word “amazing” out of there and just call it dissertation. I left this very late and ended up having to rush it so I’m glad it’s done but I definitely didn’t give it as much time and effort as I should’ve.

TRAVEL.

I did travel but again, not as much as I would’ve liked. My plan was to do a longer trip somewhere further than Europe but I ended up just doing few trips here. I was lucky enough to visit Dublin 3 times, twice with work. I also saw Berlin for the first time and then visited Amsterdam once again. Sooo could’ve been better could’ve been worse 🙂

Brush up on my Spanish.

Haha. This one was a total failure. I’m not sure I made one attempt at this over the year. That’s quite disappointing and definitely something to remember for next year.

Spend less time on Social Media.

Hmmm. I’m not too sure this happened either. I think I’ve made a reduction in the time spent there but not enough yet.

Read more books.

Yeah no. Again, disappointingly, I think I read one book all year. It was an amazing book but still, not an excuse.

Be present.

This one is hard to evaluate really. I’d say I tried occasionally but there were definitely times I was more focused on the past or the future.

Word for the year: Ambition

Was I ambitious? I’d say I was in some circumstances but not all. I definitely haven’t reached as high as I could’ve.

Overall, I think I managed some but not all. Ultimately, I don’t think they all have to be accomplished perfectly anyway. I’ll probably write about my goals for 2017 later on but it’s safe to say that a lot of these will have to be shifted to the next year as well. That’s totally acceptable right 🙂

Have a great new year! <3

xx

 

 

 

Berlin Marathon Recap – my first DNF race

Hello!

Apologies for the lack of posting over the last months. I am going to try and get better at this blogging thing again. There’s a reason I wanted to write now and that’s my Berlin marathon recap, or shall I say a recap of 39km in the Berlin marathon 😀

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Anyone who follows me on social media would know that I collapsed and didn’t finish the race. Before I go into detail about the day, I have to tell that this wasn’t the first time I collapsed as it also happened at the London Marathon 2014. Be prepared, this will be a LONG recap of me talking about not only Berlin but the London one too.

The marathon was on last Sunday. Me and Minna flew to Berlin on Friday, got our race numbers on Saturday at the expo and were really excited for the day. My original goal was sub 3.30. Training for the past 4 months has been pretty good but during the last month I had issues with my hamstring which prevented me from running for a while. The preparation wasn’t ideal, I hadn’t done a long run or a hard run for a while before Berlin so I knew sub 3:30 would most likely be a struggle so anywhere near 3:30 would be nice. We had the chat with Minna beforehand where you tell each other it’s okay if it’s not a pb day, not every marathon is great. It might not be your day and don’t push it too much etc. If it doesn’t feel great at the start it’s not going to feel great at 35km that’s for sure. However, try and tell an ambitious person that maybe their goals are too ambitious. It wasn’t going to stop me from trying.berlinexpo1

Anyhow, we started in different pens and I was feeling good. The first couple of kilometers I felt so happy to be there and have the chance to run it so I decided to just enjoy the race and atmosphere. I started with 4:50ish min/km pace which would get me a sub 3:30. By 5km I had stomach cramps. I had the exact same feeling in my stomach at the London marathon at my worst race and it started really early on. I told myself I’m just being paranoid, this run will be great. By 10km I knew it wasn’t going to be great, I just didn’t feel good. A smart person would slow down a little as it’s not going to get any better later on but I’m not a smart person. I continued to run with the similar pace. By half way point I knew this will be hell. If you don’t feel great at halfway point at a marathon you know things aren’t going well. At that London marathon halfway point is where I pretty much wanted to give up, at Chester last year I felt great at half way but even there I got tired later. I drank water at every water station apart from one. I took my gels religiously every 8km. The weather was warm but not hot at that point. I don’t know why but running just felt so hard. Did I slow down? Nope.

By 30km I remember really starting to struggle not only with running but just feeling a bit delirious and just not clear headed anymore. This is where things went wrong in London as well. I was so focused and determined to run a pb that I refused to take my body signals into account. Everyone who runs a marathon knows that at some point, usually around 32-35km you will feel terrible, you hit the so called “wall”, sometimes it’s very hard, other times it’s not but you will feel like you need to stop. However, your legs can push through and run longer as long as you don’t let your brain convince otherwise. Mind over matter. As much as I like to be a determined person, i think it was my determination that actually caused all of this.

I don’t remember much from between 30-39km, I remember doing calculations in my head an knew that I am still getting a pb. I knew I couldn’t get sub 3:30 anymore and luckily I allowed myself to accept that but I still wanted 3:31-3.32 time. Even though I felt awful I kept pushing at that pace. I told myself it’s just the wall (that has lasted the whole marathon :D) and I have to convince my brain to get over it as my legs can do it. If only I understood that it was my brain warning me that I can’t keep going. Slowing down or stopping to walk wasn’t an option. I was so focused on pb that I refused to read my body. By the time it was 3km to the finish I knew that even if I slowed down to 6min/km pace I would still get  a pb. Did I do that? No, I slowed down but only a little. I think my pace got to 5:15. Thinking about it now, I could have stopped at 39 and walked to the finish and still finish in less than 4 hours; a respectable time for a marathon anytime. But no, that was not an option because in my head I felt like that means giving up and failing. Instead, I kept running and running until my body just shut down. I found myself at the side of the road as my legs just gave up. I didn’t lose consciousness but my body just did exactly what it did in London, my legs were unable to even stand they just went like spaghetti and I was on the ground.

This is when I started to feel really bad as well; imagine your biggest hangover and then multiply that by 10. I was lying on the ground with doctors and nurses helping me (I have no idea how I managed to collapse by the doctors or whether they came there later but I felt like there was immediately people helping me). I couldn’t move anything the feeling was so helpless and terrible and the disappointment when I realised it’s happened again and I’m not getting a pb. As soon as I was on the ground I heard the doctor tell me he has called the ambulance. I remember thinking that’s the end of my race if I have to go there, it can’t be the end of my race. At the same time the thought of actually getting up, let alone walking to the finish was worse. In London, after I collapsed I was taken to an emergency tent and I was there for 1,5 hours. After that I felt a lot better, I got up and walked/jogged 8km to the finish (I collapsed at 34km). In my head I thought I could still finish this race I just need to tell these doctors not to take me to the ambulance, but the words just didn’t come out of my mouth. I think because I was on the side of the road and not emergency tent they couldn’t have just left me there for hours to “wait and feel better”, they probably had to send me to hospital. German efficiency 🙂 But also, I didn’t tell them that I want to finish, I don’t know whether they would have let me or not and I am gutted I didn’t ask and try to stay there for a bit longer. At that point I felt so so bad though that I didn’t know whether I could finish. It’s easy to say now that I was only 2 or 3km away from finish, surely I could’ve even crawled that but never mind. They took me to the hospital and put a drip of electrolytes and water in me. They took some blood tests and said it looks like it was lack of electrolytes or dehydration. I was fine after couple of hours at the hospital. Massive thank you to an Irish man who was also there after collapsing and let me use his phone to call Minna who was super worried at the finish. (She ran 3:01!!!!!!!!!!!) The doctors said I’m not allowed to make an international call so Minna would have waited there for hours as my bag had the hotel keys and everything. Afterwards we walked back, I knew I needed food but didn’t feel like eating anything. Eventually I managed to have a smoothie which came back up 10 minutes later. After I was sick I started to feel better. It was exactly like a really bad hungover, just from running 39km.

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As I said before, I took water at pretty much every station, however the water was in tiny cups which I struggle to drink from as they spill everywhere. Also, some of the cups they gave us were only half full so from the half full cup after I spilled another half I probably only drank half of a half. Still, I didn’t feel super thirsty. I did feel really thirsty in London marathon and remember thinking that even drinking a bottle of water every 5km wasn’t enough. I also took 5 gels in Berlin, I normally take 4 but it seems like they just didn’t digest. Minna suggested that when you run too fast your body is unable to actually utilise the energy you are putting in so maybe because I ran too fast for my fitness levels from the very start the gels just didn’t actually absorb, so I was practically running on empty. Also the stomach cramps are suggesting the same thing, that I went off too fast. It’s easy to try and analyse and explain it now but thinking about the similarities to London there are few obvious ones.

Before London I was writing my final year dissertation for my Bachelor’s degree and I had had very stressful couple of months leading up to it. I basically handed in the diss on the same week as the marathon. I had also been injured and hadn’t trained, I started off way too fast and it was a hot day. In London they never told me why I collapsed, they suggested heat stroke.

For Berlin, I have had a stressful couple of months as well; I have been working full time and then writing my Master’s Dissertation on the weekends. I literally handed in my dissertation half hour before I had to take the bus to the airport to fly to Berlin. I had an injury that prevented some of the training, I started off too fast and it was a hot day. I don’t need to be a genius to realise that most likely my body doesn’t cope well under a lot of stress or at least doesn’t want to run a marathon in a stressed state. Maybe the heat had something to do with it, then again Chester marathon last year was hot too and I didn’t feel bad. Most likely, I went off too fast for my current level and that prevented the gels from absorbing and my body just gave up.

You know in marathons people always have signs that say: “Never quit”, “Giving up is not an option”. I think I should run a marathon where there is a sign saying: “Giving up is okay, you can quit”. I think my determination is so ridiculous that it refuses to differentiate just pure fatigue and lazyness from actual harmful situation and that is how I have ended up collapsing twice. If only I had slowed down, or even walked for a bit, I would have given myself a chance to finish the race but no. I had to keep going.

If anyone read to the finish then I’m impressed. My takeaways would be: “Be determined but be sensible!” 🙂

P.S. If this is read by anyone who was at the race and helped me then thank you! There was one runner who ran same pace as me pretty much the whole time and then tried to help me up when I collapsed. Talk about the great running community 🙂

 

Cardiff World Half Marathon Race Recap

Helloooo!!

I know it’s been a while and I haven’t really been writing here.. Just been busy and it hasn’t been my priority unfortunately. But I did want to come and report about the half marathon yesterday because I like looking back on the race recaps and compare then.

So yesterday was the World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff. My aim was to break my pb and ideally I wanted a time of 1:35, that’s what I’ve been aiming for and trained for. But to come up with excuses (haha) I was ill not long ago with a very chesty cough and had to take two weeks off. I’m still suffering from that cough a little bit and I guess it did affect my running because in the first runs back I had to take a break after 2km because I was so exhausted. Also, last week I did the 5km race missing a pb, and really struggled to keep the pace I thought I was capable of which really didn’t fill me with confidence for the half. Then again, I managed a 12km tempo in 4:30 pace couple of weeks before and it didn’t feel too bad. It’s the pace I was aiming to get 1:35.  Before my last half in August I managed a 10km run in 4:30 and it was sooo hard yet I still ran a 1:37ish for the half. So even though part of me wasn’t believing that 1:35 was achievable at Cardiff yesterday the other part was convinced it was doable. Does that make sense?

But then the weather… Wales really showed itself in all its glory yesterday. It was cold,windy and rainy. I mean I don’t mind running in the cold, and rain isn’t that bad either but they were forecasting winds of 40miles/hour and running in that isn’t great. When I saw the weather I started to seriously doubt my chances of a pb.

In the morning yesterday (race didn’t start til 2pm) everything was hurting, I had weird niggles and pains in my knee, achilles, foot.. I wasn’t sure if I was being paranoid or if I was actually in pain. Typical race day morning I guess. The women’s elite field started first and then the mass race started same time as the men’s elite race.

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I made sure to stick with the 4:30 pace from the very start and not get carried away with the atmosphere. I have definitely learnt from my last half (here). Usually the pace feels really easy from the start but I found it quite hard from the very beginning. I guess you’ll know from quite early if you’re going to have a great race or not. By the time we’d ran about 5km I knew it was going to be hard.. it wasn’t even that windy yet but it really felt like I had to work for that pace. I occasionally went slower than the 4:30 but I told myself I’d just negative split and catch up on the second half so didn’t worry too much. By the time we hit half way I did the maths and knew that 1:35 was still doable if I made sure not to drop the pace. At some time around 12-13km a torrential downpour started with horrandeous wind and I was just conveniently crossing a bridge. I didn’t know whether to cry or laugh it was sooo bad. Everyone pretty much turned their heads to the side because the rain/hail was so painful coming from the side. It only lasted for about a minute or two but it made sure that I was completely drenched from head to toe. My shoes felt so much heavier after all the rain had got in them it was ridiculous. At that point I really regretted having shorts and top on as well because it was so cold.

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Anyway I survived and then the wind and rain calmed down a bit again. I saw JP around 14km. I was feeling okay at this point and even smiled at him although in the below photo I look like a crazy person 😀

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After that I thought well it’s only 6km and all I need to do is keep the 4:30 pace to make it 1:35. How hard can it be? Well the wind picked up again and my legs started to feel heavy and suddenly when I felt like I was running 4:30 pace (the effort was definitely there) to my annoyance I saw I was running 4:45 pace. It was so frustrating. I swear my legs were going the same pace and it felt so hard but I just couldn’t pick up the pace. I guess the wind had an effect. We looped around Roath park and this is where I’ve been doing all my runs basically so I kept trying to push because it was such familiar grounds but for some reason my body just wasn’t doing what my brain told it to do. The next few km’s were so much slower that I knew 1:35 had slipped away. My only focus was to make sure I can get 1:36. There’s a bit of downhill in the last few kilometers as well which I was so thankful for, however the wind was against us at that point which made the downhill running slower too. Anyhow, I got to the last bridge just before you turn to the finish and realised how close I am to not getting 1:36 time so the last bit of the course was definitely my fastest bit. I made it in 1:36:48.

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My splits were: 4:29,4:31,4:32,4:31,4:32,4:35,4:28,4:30,4:29,4:33,4:31,4:32,4:33,4:34,4:32,4:39,4:41,4:39,4:34,4:42,4:24 and then 4:11 pace for the last 300meters.

It’s a small pb, exactly 34 seconds from my last half marathon pb that I set in Cardiff at that exact same course in October 2014 (in a lot better weather though!!) I’ve been trying to break that pb many times in 2015 and never managed so even though yesterday’s time wasn’t what I wanted, it’s still proved me that the 1:37:22 time wasn’t unbreakable 🙂

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Training recap

This is probably the earliest I’ve ever written  a training recap, usually it’s like at least Thursday before I recap the previous week’s training.

So last week looked like this:

Monday: Off

Tuesday: Off (arms)

Wednesday: 1 hour bike + legs and planking

Thursday: 20min crosstrainer, 6km easy run on the treadmill (pace 5:44) + arms and abs

Friday: 10min crosstrainer, 10km steady run (pace 4:58), 11km in total + legs

Saturday: Off

Sunday: 8km run, pace 5:37

Total running: 25km

Way too many off days for my liking but as I mentioned in my last week’s recap I overdid it on Sunday and really hurt my knee so I kept Monday off. On Tuesday morning my intention was to go and run 1km repeats but I woke up with the sorest shin. It was so bizarre, there was no pain on Monday or previous days and I didn’t even do anything on Monday but Tuesday morning my right shin really hurt. I foamrolled a bit and thought compression calf sleeves will do and I’ll be fine for my 1km repeats 😀 Yea right. I left the house and the first step hurt so much that for probably the first time in my life I turned back home after about 300m. All of Tuesday it was seriously sore but by Wednesday the pain was gone. All I did was put some Ice power gel on it and foam rolled my calves. I’ve had similar pain before (lower shin pain just on one leg) and last time it came out of nowhere and disappeared very quickly too. So strange. Wish all of my injuries did that ha.

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Anyhow on Wednesday I went to the gym but I didn’t wanna run yet just in case (see I’m learning ;)). By Thursday I wanted to test running so I jumped on the treadmill for easy 6km. I was going to do more as nothing was hurting but again thought there’s no point pushing my luck now (I’m really proud of myself). While I was on the crosstrainer afterwards though I felt some weird pain around my achilles, but this time left foot. I don’t know if I’m just going to be in pain forever or if I’m imagining these pains but these niggles really seem to haunt me.

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On Friday I was going to do the 1km repeats but my only option was treadmill and I didn’t want to do them on the treadmill so I thought I’d do a tempo run instead. I got to the gym after work and I had zero desire to run fast or push myself. I thought I’d give it a go anyway and hopped on the treadmill after crosstrainer. After 500m I felt like my knee really hurt and my legs were so heavy so I stopped and decided it’s not going to be a run day. I went and did some legs and then changed my mind because I wanted to have Saturdaay off. I thought I’d give the treadmill another go but I still had no interest in a tempo run so I decided to make it a steady run instead (around marathon pace). There was no knee pain for the whole of 10km so I don’t know why it hurt the first 500m before that. I finished the steady run with 500m jogging and left the gym happy that I had actually managed to run.

I had Saturday off and then decided to do the 1km repeats on Sunday. JP was ill all week and I finally caught the bug Friday night so I didn’t feel great on the weekend. When I woke up Sunday morning I had a sore throat, headache and a runny nose so I really didn’t see myself running 1km repeats. It’s one of those workouts I probably hate the most  and find hard even at best of times so I knew that being slightly ill isn’t gonna help.  I didn’t want to skip the run completely though and trusted the advice “Symptoms below the neck require time off, while symptoms above the neck don’t pose a risk” (source). So I opted for another easy run and even that felt quite hard because I didn’t feel 100%.

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Overall okay week, weird niggles continued and then I got ill so can’t really say it was a great week but hopefully next week will be more exciting and I get to finally do those 1km repeats :S 😀

Training week recap (and some niggles)

Hi again,

So here’s a recap about last week’s training:

Monday: Off

Tuesday: “hills” on the treadmill, 8km in total, 20 min bike + legs and abs

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: 10km easy run, pace: 5:40

Friday: 4*3*2*1 tempo run, 14km in total with warmups & dooldowns + abs

Saturday: Off

Sunday: 16km run, pace 5:50

Running total: 48km

I was meant to go to the gym on Monday but got an unexpected call for an interview that day which changed the plans for the day and I ended up skipping the gym.

On Tuesday I did “hill” training on the treadmill again. After a 20 min bike warmup and 1km running I did 10*2mins at 4% incline with 1min recovery at 0% incline in between with an average pace of 05:17. I started a bit slower and increased the pace towards the end. The workout felt good, it felt like there was effort and it wasn’t easy but it wasn’t too hard either.

On Wednesday I skipped pilates as I was preparing for a workshop I delivered that evening and I also knew that the instructor I really like wasn’t going to be there.

I had the second and third stages of that interview on Thursday but managed to run an easy 10km in between the interview times. What a great way to calm the nerves 😀

I did a tempo on Friday this week and tried a workout I read from Katju’s blog. It’s a 10k tempo but done in chunks of 4km, then 3km, then 2km, and then 1km. I’m not sure what the actual recovery in between should be but because it was my first time doing it I decided to do 2-3 min walking/stretching recovery. The first breaks ended up being longer because my Garmin lost satellites (don’t you hate when that happens!!) and I had to wait for it to record pace again. My aim was to run each set a little bit faster than the previous one. I aimed to do the first set around my normal tempo pace (4:30/km) and then each set couple of seconds faster. So I ended up doing the 4km at 4:30 pace on average, 3km set in 4:27 pace, 2km in 4:24 and the 1km in 4:16. It was a nice change for a normal tempo run and again the run was hard but not as hard as a normal 10km tempo would have felt like without the breaks. I averaged 4:25 for the 10km which is faster than I normally run tempos but of course the breaks in between helped. It wasn’t easy either, don’t get me wrong. Especially as I made the mistake of eating way too close to the run and the first 4km I could feel the stitches and my stomach not agreeing with that 😀

I was going to go to the gym on Saturday as I had already had an unplanned rest day for the week but my left calf started hurting completely out of nowhere while I was at work. It was a very weird pain, almost like a trapped nerve and it just got worse and worse towards the end of the day. So I decided to skip gym and just go home from work. I’ve had a similar calf pain before, I think few months ago and it came out of the blue then as well and disappeared the same way… both times not when I’ve been running but just without any obvious reason.

So Sunday morning I was going to try and trun 16km as my long run but decided to skip it because of the calf pain and also because I had a lot of uni work to do. I spent few hours in uni but then on my way home I got really annoyed about missing the run so I decided to go anyway. The weather was extreme and stormy and I wasn’t sure how my calf was going to behave (my knee wasn’t feeling great either) so I thought I’d just go and see how I feel not worrying if I can’t do 16km. Well, as you can imagine, once I was out there I really wanted to get the 16km done and despite my knee hurting and some niggling pain around my achilles and shins I did that 16km. It was stupid. Towards the end I was in serious knee pain so I knew I made a mistake. Surprisingly, my left calf wasn’t in pain at all but my knee was, and in general I didn’t feel great, probably because of the horrandeous weather as well.

I got my 16km done, longest since the injury and marathon in October but I should’ve cut it shorter. Stubborness is not the greatest of qualities.

As I’m writing this I am in serious shin pain (this time right leg) so I guess I overdid something last week and I’m paying for it now.

Oh well, fingers crossed my niggles will go away as quickly as they came.

Hope you’ve been able to run injury and niggle free this week.

P.S. Sorry about the lack of photos,  I didn’t take my phone on any of my runs this week. Either because it rained too much or because I just wanted to run and not have the urge to take photos 😀

P.P.S. I got the job in case you were wondering 🙂

 

 

 

Training recap w/e 31/01/15

Last week’s training:

Monday:  1 hour Crosstrainer, 10 min bike + legs and abs

Tuesday: 4x5min effort + warmup/cooldown, running total 9.6 km

Wednesday: Pilates

Thursday: 11 km easy, pace 5:37

Friday: Off

Saturday: 8 km tempo (4:30 pace) on the treadmill, 10 km in total, 15 min crosstrainer + legs

Sunday: 14 km easy, pace 5:38 + arms

Weekly running: 44.6 km

I have sort of established a pattern for my workouts, at least for now. On Monday I went to the gym after running both Saturday and Sunday. I am aware that my knee is still causing me trouble and I don’t want to run in 3 consecutive days for instance.

Sian was kind enough to let me run with her again which was nice as I love having running company. Tuesday evening was horrible weatherwise, I already mentioned it in my last post here but it got done. Sian had 4 x 5 mins hard on her schedule. I didn’t have a set plan for that day but I wanted to run a bit faster so I tagged along. I am very very bad at estimating my pace for intervals and have always ended up running the first ones too fast and dying at the end. So with this in mind I made the decision to really keep my pace controlled for the 5 minute segments and try and pick up pace with each one. The average pace for the 5min efforts were: 4:16, 4:13, 4:10, 4:12. So I did well until the last one. I’ll just blame the wind for the last rep 😀 I was happy that I managed to keep the pace relatively steady. I am not a fan of running in the dark on uneven roads so it was a bit more challenging to do these reps in rain, wind and dark but excuses aside I think they went okay. I didn’t feel as exhausted at the end as I did after my 500m repeats the previous week for instance.. and my pace wasn’t that much different so maybe I could’ve pushed harder. Next time 🙂

I went to Pilates again on Wednesday and just an easy run on Thursday. I am being very careful not to increase my kilometers per week more than  about 10% at a time so I only increased my easy run by 1km. After Friday’s day off I tried tempo run on the treadmill. The aim was to do 7km but because the tempo felt okay I added an extra 1km. I was so happy with how 4:30 pace felt considering that before my half marathon last summer I did 10km in that pace and it was really hard. Obviously treadmill running is different and I can’t wait to do tempos outside but still, I was happy with that run.

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Because of this extra 1km for tempo I decided to keep my Sunday “long” run at 14km like the previous week instead of increasing it to 15km as I had planned.. I am being very specific and careful and I really don’t know if couple of kilometers makes a difference  but I hope my knee will reward me for it.. (my knee is aching as I’m writing this so I’m not too sure about that).

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Overall I’m really happy with the week. My knee hardly hurt and both of my faster runs felt good and strong so looks like we’re making improvements 🙂 The only thing I should try and remember to do is more core work and strength training.. If I don’t do it at the gym I always “forget” at home. The other excuse is that most of this week’s runs were in the rain and when I get home I just want to shower and change into comfortable clothes and at that point I can’t be bothered to do the abs etc anymore.. If I did them straight after the run it’d be fine but no one wants to stay in wet clothes. Sorry abs, rain wins you lose.

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Still okay to run in a t shirt though…

Have a great rest of the week guys!

 

Currently…

I wrote about what was going on in my life in November here, and thought I’d do one of these a month.. Obviously I forgot as it’s end of January but the intention was good. Here we go again..

Current thought:

-I am very lucky (but I need to be more lucky and get a job).

Current tv-show:

-Making a murderer (yes I jumped on the bandwagon because everyone seemed to be talking about this show)

Current book:

-Shantaram. I know one of my January goals was to read more books but I’m still reading Shantaram (in my defense it’s a big book).

Current song:

-Renegades by X Ambassadors

Current weather:

-You guessed it, rainy. And windy. The worst combination.

Current food:

-Chicken soup. I made this for the first time yesterday and I’m so proud of myself, it turned out amazing 🙂

Current drink:

-Still tea, I really am turning British.

Current chocolate:

-Dumles (I still have some left from my last trip to Finland and I treasure them)

dumles

Current source of stress:

-Not having a full-time job.

Current source of happiness:

-Running <3

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Current mood:

-Happy and grateful.

Current quote:

Picture from www.tumblr.com
Picture from www.tumblr.com

Current ideal location:

-Finland. My sister is giving birth anytime now… 🙂

Current idea:

-I am going to be more organized. Definitely.

Current video:

I saw this years ago and for some reason remembered it again the other day. I absolutely love it! It’s such a positive feel good video, I highly recommend it.

Current blog/article:

I found this blog the other day and loved his posts. This one is my favourite at the moment:

7 Strange Questions That Help You Find Your Life Purpose

Current countdown:

-To my first race of 2016, can’t wait to break those pbs.

What’s currently going on in your world?

 

 

 

Training recap

Last week’s training:

Monday: 30 min crosstrainer, 10 min bike + legs

Tuesday: 10km easy run, pace 5:37

Wednesday: Pilates

Thursday: 6x500m repeats + warmup & cool down, 6.5km in total

Friday: Off

Saturday: 10km progression run (treadmill), pace: 4:44, 15 min cycling + arms

Sunday: 14km run, pace 5:42

Running total: 40,5km

On Monday I went to the gym just because I hadn’t been for a while. I didn’t have much time so I just did a bit of cardio and legs just for the sake of doing something. Tuesday was an easy run day and it felt just that, easy and amazing. My knee was happy too.  Wednesday’s pilates focused a lot on the hips and I was so happy because my hips had been really tight so it felt good to loosen them up.

pilates

So until Wednesday I was happy but then on Thursday I decided to try my first bit of “fast” running since the injury..  I thought I’d start with something easy and short like 500m repeats.. It was far from easy and didn’t feel short either.  I did 6 x 500m with 90 sec recovery, and the aim was to pick up the pace with each one. The result: the pace was linear but I slowed down on each one, averaging just over 2 mins for each rep. I was so upset. Not only because of the time but because of how hard it felt. I really felt like my lungs were exploding and breathing was soo hard. I was hoping to at least get the reps under 2 mins each but oh well. On my last training recap (here) I was so excited for my first tempo and thought I hadn’t lost as much fitness over this break but I guess this long break has affected me somewhat. Anyhow the run got done and even though it was hard I did my planned 6 reps.. I felt defeated but sometimes you will feel that way. The only way is up.

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At least you can see me in the dark 😀

I took a day off on Friday and just spent a looong time stretching. I knew I’d be running on the treadmill on Saturday and because I find it quite boring if I don’t play with the paces/inclines I decided to do a progression run. There are different types of progression runs, and you can read about some of them here but the main aim is to start slower and end your run faster. Instead of breaking the run into three segments like I’ve done before I changed pace at every 1km. My aim was to run 5 sec/km faster on every kilometer but I got a bit confused and miscalculated while running and basically started off too fast (does anyone else struggle with maths when running??). So I started with 5min/km and realised that to do the 10km I’d have to end with 4:15 min/km. Somehow I think I was thinking of doing 8km and thought I’d end up with 4:25 but I only realised this when I was at 4:40 km/pace so I ended up just doing few extra kilometers on that pace before progressing onto 4:35 and finished with 4:30. The run was HARD. The average pace was 4:44 but it felt a lot harder than a tempo run at that pace would’ve felt. So another eye-opening run this week to realise I need to work on that speed to get some of it back and break those pbs.

gym

On Sunday I went for my “long” run which I’ve now managed to extend to 14km. It was a super warm day compared to what we had not long ago and I was actually warm in a sleeveless top.  Welcome to Wales and its weird winter.  My knee is like me, very indecisive. It hurt at the start of the run for the first couple of kilometers but then the pain disappeared until it came back just at the end.. Strange.

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Anyway, overall okay running week, I’m glad I managed to run as much as I did without major pain and hopefully that “speed” will come back to me slowly 🙂

roathlake

 

 

Running in the rain, yay or nay?

I’ve just come back from a rather rainy run. When I say rainy I really mean it was like rainy, even for Wales.

I had agreed to go for a run with Sian (before I saw the forecast) and she is not the type to cancel because of little rain (wasn’t little though). I was in all day listening to the rain and not excited at all to go out in it. But of course I did and it was fine, I got wet but so what?

I’m not saying I’m a fan of running in the rain but most of the time I don’t mind it. When I first moved to Wales almost 5 years ago it didn’t take me long to realise that I have to learn to like running in the rain as the winters mainly consist of rain.

stromtopass
Picture from www.pinterest.com

I remember on my first year in Uni walking back home from lectures and getting absolutely drenched. I had planned to go for a run after I got home and was going to cancel it but then had the thought that if I can walk home in rain with wet jeans and a jumper for 20 minutes surely I can run in that same rain? Wet jeans are a lot worse than wet tights so I went home, changed my wet “normal” clothes into running clothes and off I went into the torrential downpour. And it was amazing. The next day at work one of the regular customers asked me if I had been out running in that weather because he thought he’d seen me. I was so proud to announce “yes that was me”. He said I was crazy and I took it as a compliment. As you do.

Runningintherainecard
Picture from: www.fuelrunning.com

There has been of course times where I have not wanted to go out and run in the rain. We have skylights in our bedroom now so I can hear the rain very clearly in the morning. And more than once I have woken up to go for a run and decided not to, but only if I’ve known I can run later on that day though.. If I knew that was the only possible time I have always gone.. Because what does little rain do?

I think the worst part about rain is if it comes with wind. There’s nothing worse than being soaked and then having the wind press your loose wet  top against your skin and making you cold.. That is something I dislike very much. But rain itself is quite refreshing and often something I even hope for on my runs, but only when I’m already running and warmed up 🙂 I’m so particular I know.

rainyrun
You can’t even tell I got wet. I did. I promise.

The clothing can obviously make a difference to how you feel about running in the rain. There are a lot of water-proof clothes designed for this but from my experience in Wales the wetter it is the warmer it is. For that reason, I hardly ever wear my jacket when running in the rain and usually go with short- or long sleeve top. This obviously leads to the scenario of wet clothes stuck to my skin but it’s okay (as long as there’s no wind). I guess it’s personal preference if you rather have wet arms or wet shirt stuck to your arms. Or if you go for that waterproof jacket. If there’s something I find worse than running in the rain is running in heat so being uncomfortably hot on a run is a struggle for me. Hence, in most rainy days you’ll see me running in a t-shirt.

leaf

A lot of the time, the anticipation of running in the rain is a lot worse than the run in the rain itself. As is the case with most things in life. People worry when they look outside and who would want to go and get wet when they are nice, warm and cosy inside. But once you’re there and once you’re wet it doesn’t matter. I find it very refreshing anyway. Plus you can always come back after that run and feel nice, cosy and warm again with the added feeling of accomplishment.

Rain can make the air so clear, much fresher and nicer to breathe, and it can make you feel hard core. I often find that other runners (the few crazy ones you see) smile more at each other when they are running in terrible conditions. Probably because they are happy to see that they’re not the only weirdos out running 😀

So next time it rains, pick the right clothes and go out there. Don’t think about it too much, just do it.  And smile at others!  🙂

Happy rainy runs!