Monday, 18 August 2014

Determination makes difficult runs do-able!

With just less than 3 weeks to go until the Great North Run, I am going through a rollercoaster of excitement and nerves. A couple of weeks ago I kept a food diary for my running coach to analyse and give me nutritional advice (he’s qualified in Sports Nutrition). I was very honest in my food diary, recording everything I was eating even things I knew I probably shouldn’t be (such as chocolate cake and custard!) as I wanted the advice to be based on my current diet.

Steve analysed what I had been eating and then after running group last week he talked me through my diet and what I am doing well, not so well and what I need to eat more of. It was really helpful and now I am trying really hard to be eating more of the foods I should be eating. I haven’t been eating enough protein (and too much sugar) so these are the areas I am focusing on most. I have also stopped eating low fat yoghurts due to the high number of artificial ingredients.

I’ve changed all the snacks that I take to work, as if I don’t have unhealthy snacks with me, I can’t eat them. I’ve been taking more fresh fruit and nuts and no chocolate! If I set my mind to something then I am very determined (as you can probably tell!) and if something is worth doing it is worth doing properly.

I am still having trouble with heavy calves and Steve said this could be partly down to what I have been eating so I am hoping that this will ease over the coming weeks leading up to the Great North Run.

I went for a 4 mile run after work on Wednesday and I really struggled. I always expect that now I am doing longer runs, the shorter runs will be easier, but on the most part this isn’t the case. It’s just a shorter time to be feeling discomfort! It definitely isn’t any easier.

On Wednesday night my legs felt really heavy and the muscle on the side of my left shin felt swollen again. I used the foam roller and lay on my back with my legs against the wall, but neither of these gave much relief. I text my friend Katie (a Physio) and asked if she could massage my legs again and she came round to do this on Thursday evening.

It was like walking on air after she’d finished the massage and I was *almost* looking forward to my long Saturday run, knowing that my legs would feel a lot better than they have done.

I got up early on Saturday morning and had my usual running breakfast of porridge with Nutella. I waited an hour before I got ready to go out for my run. I decided to head out in the same direction as last week and just keep going further along the river towards Sandy Bay.

At Steve’s recommendation I bought some energy gels to try on my long runs to see how I respond to them, ahead of the big day. I managed to squash one into my pocket along with my phone before heading out.

I usually buy a bottle of Lucozade sport when I’m about half way through a long run, but I decided to use an energy gel on Saturday instead. It proved quite difficult to get into, but once opened it didn’t taste as bad as I was expecting and I think it did give me a bit more energy to keep going.

I saw my Grandad when I was out running and he stopped his car to say hello. This was really nice and gave me a bit of motivation to keep going! I also saw a tractor wrapping hay bales in plastic which is not something I’ve ever noticed/seen before. My life was not previously incomplete without this observation but I found it rather interesting all the same! I told my niece about it when I got home and she hadn’t seen this either so I taught her something from my run! Who said running was boring?! Haha!
I ran an amazing 10.65 miles on Saturday! I am so proud of myself as I didn’t think I’d ever run such distances! I was only aiming for 10.5 miles but I misjudged my route slightly.
My legs are still feeling quite heavy and the muscle on my shin is aching again. Katie said she thinks I will need maintenance massages between now and the Great North Run, so hopefully it won’t get any worse and I will be fine on the day!

I am still in disbelief at how far I can run when I wasn’t even a runner this time last year! I am excited for the Great North Run but I am also looking forward to it being over so that I can have a rest from doing long runs.
Tonight I ran a difficult 4 miles with Rachael. The first mile felt ok as I was chatting away (as always!) so it passed quite quickly. I think I was running faster than normal as I found breathing difficult but that could have also been the amount of talking I was doing! The next three miles were difficult as my legs were heavy and my right knee began to hurt. I slowed down a bit partly due to my legs and partly due to my breathing. I was so glad to get home as I don’t think I could have ran any further tonight.

Tonight's 4 mile run and a lie down after!

Rachael and I had some strawberry milkshake when we got home. My legs don’t feel too bad now but they are still a little heavy. I’m hoping to go for another 4 mile run on Wednesday then on Friday I am doing 11 miles with Joanne (my big sister) in South Shields on Friday (the last long run before the big day!)

Running is not easy but it’s all for a good cause – if you can support my fundraising it would be greatly appreciated! Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me so far. It means more than words can say.

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