Wednesday, 29 August 2007

An unfit week

(Note: this bit of blogging is about how I coped, or didn't, with my fitness and eating whilst we were having a fabulous holiday in France. Ignore the pessimistic digs on this blog about calories and feeling unfit - it really was a brilliant fortnight. For a few selected photos of our wonderful wanderings, click here.)

I spent most of the week after the Wroxham 5K feeling nothing whatever like a fit person. An insane amount of travelling across the Friday and Saturday (driving from Norfolk to Kent, a route involving the M25, on a bank holiday weekend not being something I'd recommend); a crossing through the Chunnel on the Saturday that was delayed by a couple of hours (BH weekend again); and 330 miles to drive once we actually hit France, meaning that we arrived at around 10:30 pm.

By this time, my old hamstring-and-hip problems were kicking in big time, aided by the preceding weeks of work at the PC. To my irritation, my left foot (there's a book in there somewhere) joined in, with a sharp pain as I walked - even now I have no idea what all that was about.

Our village was a beautiful, quiet little place, and the gite was great. I'd jokingly said "I'll jog to the bakery for the breakfast each morning" and I did - but it was such a tiny distance to be non-existent. And the foot hurt. And no way would the sixty seconds' worth of distance run (which is about what it was) have compensated for the croissants / pain au chocolat / brioche / Danish pastries that were usually consumed on my return.

Finally, a week after the race, I very gingerly set out for a very slow run, which I estimate was a bit over a mile in total, down to the chateau at the end of the village and back. Sore ham, hip and foot. Hmm.

Meantime, we were enjoying the sort of activities one does in France. Smorgasbord - bread, cheese, pate; wine tasting; biscuits; Nutella... Any thoughts where this might be going?

Thursday, 23 August 2007

A great gift

Kim tells me that most "mementos" (is that spelt correctly? - it doesn't look it) of races tend to be a bit on the tacky side. Her dad has loads of them, apparently.

However, the Wroxham lot did a wonderful job. Actually, I think you were only meant to get one if you'd done all three races in the series, but I believe they'd over-ordered so we all got one! A substantial little glass block with a pair of 3-D runners in it. Difficult to photograph, but this is the best I could do.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

First real race

It wasn't a promising time to run my first race.

The last three weeks have been spent almost non-stop at the PC, completing (or nearly) a huge data entry task for a client before we go on holiday. This meant that the dodgy left hamstring and now even dodgier right hip were wrong before I started!

And this week's weather has been the pits. We're not talking "a bit of rain" here - I can cope with getting wet - we're talking torrential downpours and howling gales. My two planned runs earlier in the week just didn't happen.

But I wasn't going to give up (Kim wouldn't have let me, anyway), and off we went to Wroxham for the third in the Wroxham 5K series. The rain, mercifully, held off, and it also meant that the running conditions were much better than we'd anticipated.

Taking all those reasons (who said excuses?) into consideration, I was actually pretty pleased with my achievement. My hip was hurting like mad as we finished, but I kept a pace of slightly under 7 minutes per km, and came in at (I think) just over 34:30. Which, given that my R4L time back in May was nearer 39 minutes, was pleasing. (When the results are published, I'll link to them - although I'll be surprised if we are more than six from the bottom of the list!)*

I was really pleased that Nikki came and found me - she's a fellow runner-blogger-Norfolk inhabitant. She had the advantage of knowing what I look like (there are no photos of her on her blog) so she could identify me! Her times were a lot more impressive than mine - you can read her entry about the race here.

Finally, here we are after the event. None of us in action - sadly, Malcolm & Sue weren't there this time to take photos of us - and carry our water bottles!!

* Checking the results on the Norwich Road Runners site, I find that Kim & I came 260th and 261st out of 265 runners in a time of 34:32. It's somewhat daunting to realise that the fastest lady in the race (age 17) did it in 17:42 and the fastest fella (age 30) in 15:13. Good grief.

Friday, 17 August 2007

That's better

I had a totally mad working day, with two new clients down on the Norfolk/Suffolk borders - one for IT training, the other in preparation for helping her with decluttering. The A140 is a nightmare of speed restrictions, and I was late leaving Suffolk anyway; so my planned over-an-hour for pre-holiday defuzzing (I know, too much detail!) was crammed into thirty minutes - Kayla worked a miracle in the time available before her next client.

Kim was due to come over for a run, and much to my relief she was running late (pardon the pun) as well, having had an equally busy day at work. Collapsed in an armchair in our front room, I wouldn't let her back out of the run, though - I wanted to try out the new trainers!

We ran down to Morton Hall and back - just the two mile circuit - but oh, that felt so much better. Still aching in various places, but I'm quite convinced that the wrong fit trainers were a big part of the problem. (The other part is the data input work that I'm doing for a client, which keeps me in front of the PC for up to 6 hours a day - lousy on the back. I'll be glad to be running in the Loire (the valley, not the river), with no access to any computer technology, in just over a week's time...)

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Your feet's too big

... or in my case, too skinny!

My feet are an impractical size 7, to begin with, but also a ridiculously narrow fitting - an AA, if I do it properly. So off I went to the excellent Sportlink in Drayton.

Fabulous to find somebody who really knows what they're talking about. Jude runs the shop, and is a sports therapist herself, so when I explained the problem I felt I was in good hands. She analysed my gait, watched me stand, walk and run, checked the fit of my present trainers, and brought out loads of different pairs. The main conclusion was that I'm wearing a pair that are both slightly too short and definitely too wide, so they're not giving the foot enough support. It didn't help that I hadn't got the laces through the holes nearest to the ankle, either, which would have helped.

After several tries, we finally hit on a pair by Asics, and as soon as I went outside to run up the road, I knew we had the right ones. A million times more comfortable.

£75 - but it's a small price to pay for something that's so important to me now!!

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

I don't feel like a runner today

I needed to deliver some post to the other side of the village (it came to the Rectory, instead of the Old Rectory - an important difference!) so took the opportunity to put on the trainers. It's not far - about 2/3 of a mile. A hot, cloudy, muggy evening. I walked there, and jogged back; and despite yesterday's treatment, I was aching in more places than I have been since I started this lark back in March. Hamstring, hip, calves, you name it. Awful.

New trainers, here we come.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Magic massage

What is it about these physios and sports therapists? It's real Harry Potter stuff sometimes...

Went to see the highly-recommended Tim Woodhead in Dereham, and the hamstring was certainly a lot easier afterwards. However, right hip is now also playing up (!) - I feel a complete crock.

And I also think I might need some new trainers; I'm not convinced that the present ones are a good enough fit.

Monday, 13 August 2007

More about age

It's all Crabby McSlacker's fault. She wrote one of her excellent blogs a few days ago which included a link to an extraordinary parlour game: guess how old I am?!

Now, Crabby accuses some of the participants of fishing for compliments, and I have to hold up my hands and admit to being one of those. I've generally been told that I'm not bad for my age, and since the recent weight loss, have had some gratifyingly pleasing comments along the lines of you're HOW old? Never... (I've also had somebody look at my before-and-after photos on the right hand side of this blog, and ask in all seriousness if the earlier photo is of my mother.)

This being the case, I couldn't resist joining in with this slightly daft - not to say narcissistic - idea. And no, I'm not going to tell you the results - you'll just have to go and have a look for yourself. Scroll down to the foot of the page to see the present average guess, and follow the link to have a go. And upload your own photo if you're feeling brave.

That was hard work

Unlike yesterday, when things seemed to flow comfortably, this evening's run was, frankly, painful. The left hamstring is being a real nuisance, and the right hip now seems to be joining in. Even the two mile route was a real effort. Whinge, whinge, whinge.

I'm booked to see a physiotherapist tomorrow, on Kim's recommendation. With the Wroxham 5K just nine days away, this is probably wise.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Anti-computer therapy

A nice run this evening - just two miles (very warm, couldn't face the full 5km), but reasonably comfortable and the HR remained mostly around 150, which was pleasing. Beautiful sky, amazing cloud formations over the fields.

This was in direction reaction to having spent some hours this afternoon of pretty tedious (but necessary) data entry for one of my clients. It's keeping me gainfully employed, and with luck will pay for a new camera to take on our forthcoming holiday... I'm not sure that my frequent sessions at the PC aren't partly to blame for incredibly stiff hamstrings. There's nothing like three hours' solid keyboard work to b*gger up your posture...

Friday, 10 August 2007

A bit stronger

Gym session with Kim - not a PT session, but a girls-together-session. A good one; just over an hour, starting with a treadmill warmup but otherwise all using weights.

I was really pleased that my strength seems to have improved a bit (not that that's saying much). One of those instruments of torture which requires you to support your own weight - kneeling on one bit and hauling yourself up and down using handles above you - had me totally defeated when I tried it a few weeks ago - Kim was in stitches at the look on my face on that occasion.

This time I managed a respectable 10 or 15 reps per set, 2 sets of each variation, without going blue in the face. Excellent stuff. And considering that I don't go to the gym anything like as often as I should ("haven't got time - oh, stuff it - I'll go for a run instead") it's better still.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Our bovine fans

A lovely run with Kim this evening - the first run we've had together for about three weeks. I took her round my new 5K route, which we managed with a bit of effort - a couple of walking breaks and pauses - but we did it nonetheless.

I warned her that the cows would be waiting for us on our way back from the Hall - and they were!

Sunday, 5 August 2007

I'm gonna live forever

Anybody else remember Fame? - I was studying drama & theatre studies at college when it came out...

groovybabe pointed me towards the Death Clock (I kid you not). As I'm non-smoking, optimistic and with a BMI in the lowest bracket - if only just (less than 25 - yay!), the site estimates my date of death as 13th May, 2066. That will make me 103 years old.

Fine. But if at that point I can't still run, sing, cook, laugh, read and do rude things to my husband, I'm not sure I want to be here that long. What about you?...

Moving my own goalposts

Funny, isn't it, how our expectations of ourselves change? Four months ago, on 3rd April, I was triumphant at having run one mile without stopping; just over a month ago, 26th June, the achievement was managing a continuous two miles. And finally, on 30th July, I clocked up just over three miles - the 5 km training run.

So I was really fed up this evening that I quit at the two mile point. The fact that I'd managed two miles continuously in under 20 minutes, that it was a blisteringly hot evening, and I'd done the three-miler only yesterday morning, all make me feel better.

And if you'd told me six months ago that I'd be complaining about only being able to manage a two mile run, I'd have said you were mad.

Wise words

Thanks to bigbritches for this excellent quote, by that prolific writer, A. Nonymous:

Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Does dirt weigh heavy?

Weird. I weighed myself this morning - 145-and-a-quarter, OK. Had breakfast, did some work. Went out for 5 km run, dealt with post, had lunch. Finally had shower. Got on scales (I know, I know, but it's on autopilot) - and it shows 144-and-a-half. That's after eating twice. V.G. (as Bridget would say) but v. peculiar, too!

Keep going

It's been a weird week - feel as though I've been running to stand still, like Alice & the Red Queen. However, did get in a visit to the gym on Wednesday - first time in about three weeks! - with Kim, and then this morning I've done another full 5K training run - albeit split in two this time.

Down to Morton (1 mile) which took 10:30, including walking the first couple of minutes to warm up. Call in to see Ann while I'm down there, then back along the rest of the route (2.1 miles) which took another 24 minutes. Mind you, running is so not glamorous; the face tomato-red, hair (as yet unwashed this morning) all over the place...

I still have this very weird feeling to the hamstring - it's been like it for weeks. I can only describe it as being not a "hurt", but a "there". I had a sports massage when I first noticed it, but it hasn't changed; it hasn't stopped me running, and I'm careful with warming-up and stretching; I've had, frankly, too many days of rest recently - today was only my third run in eight days, which is at least one too few for me. I suppose I'm going to have to go to have it looked at again...

Mind you, I may have found somebody for reciprocal trading on such matters! Yesterday might not have included a run, but it did include a reasonable amount of physical activity: another decluttering day. This was working with Linda, who runs the Barn Therapy Centre in the beautiful area of Intwood, tucked away just south of Norwich. I had a great day with her and her two wonderful cats (and three lovely children). As her services include remedial & sports massage, I think we could help each other...