Sunday, 25 March 2012

Cold baths work!!!

I'm in a bit of a reflecting mood today. As I was celebrating my longest distance to date yesterday, a friend of mine from Regency Runners reminded me where I was this time last year. Although I may come across as being dead confident that just really isn't the case, in fact it's quite the opposite. Last March I was sat at home whinging that I couldn't run and refusing to go to running club to even try, in fact I took myself off to the gym and sat in the car park having a panic attack. There was no reason that I couldn't run, it wasn't like I was injured or dead, It was because I couldn't get my mind set right. My sister Helen is a leader at the running club, and I was convinced that I was an embarrassment to her and a burden to everybody, crazy I know! This is certainly not the case, because in fact my sister is very proud of me, as I am her. So this time last year I could barely run a mile, yesterday I ran 20 miles in 4:22:18, not bad for someone who is 73lbs over weight eh?!

It has taken a lot to get some self esteem and self confidence back. I'm sure that many people have their own way of doing this like; having a strong word with themselves, that has never worked for me, because I am too hard on myself, nothing I do is good enough for my own expectations, in fact, many people who I have ran with or trained with will have heard those famous words from me, "yeah it was good, but I can do better." For me to take the first steps to getting back my self confidence I decided to take a good friends advice and see a hypnotherapist, Neil Stevenson. All I can say is that Neil was great, he gave me the tools that I needed to see myself in a different way and to realise that I am able to do whatever I want to, and that it is ok to like myself. 

So, back to this week’s training. I enjoyed a rest day Monday after my hideous 18 mile run the day before, and then was back to it on Tuesday. As usual I ran the 2 miles from my house to meet with the Regency Runners, I decided to take the 5 mile route. Usually, I go off straight away and the group eventually catches me up, but tonight I decided on a nice chatty run with Jo and Sharon, I had definitely had enough of running on my own during my run on Sunday, so really fancied some company. It turned out to be a great run, I really enjoyed it and I'm pleased that I had run with Jo and Sharon, even though I struggled to keep up with Jo over that last half a mile as she was getting a beasting by Rachel!

For one reason or another I couldn't get out running on Wednesday, which meant I would have to double up Thursday, rubbish! So I got up at 6am Thursday morning and went straight out for a 6 mile run. I must admit I didn't enjoy it really; because I'm used to running in the evening. Come lunchtime though, I had forgotten about it, and was thinking about a route for what would be my 5k time trial later that evening. So, I got back from work and kitted up, and made my way out of the door for my 3 miles. I have to admit that I am not used to running at any kind of speed, just getting round has been my focus over the last few months so being able to run some faster times during these short runs has given me a huge boost in confidence. Now, when I say faster, my 5k pb was 33.28, but I smashed that on Thursday coming in at 32.17. I have an amazing friend who calls me a proper runner; I think I am proving with times like that that I am not!!

Thursday night after my 5k triumph, I took myself off down the road to my marshal position for Regency Runners 10k. The group hold two 10 week programmes, a 5k, and a10k, with the final week being their time trial. The group has given me such tremendous support over the last few months that I just wanted to help them out a bit and give some support to those that were running. The run was a great success, with the first 10k runner coming in in 53 minutes (I think) and all runners coming in under 1h 15 minutes. It was great to see people achieve their distance, big smiles all round!

Friday I spent again, resting and carb loading for my run Saturday. As usual, Regency Runners had come up trumps with runners offering to run parts of my 20 mile route with me. I was hoping that this would make the run easier, and also to make it easier to arrange drinks and nutrition along the way. I started off at 7:30am with Jo, and I ran out to Barton and back into Warwick. I have never run this route before, and I really enjoyed it! Jo had chosen to ride her bike as she wasn't feeling too great, and I think really enjoyed pretending she had a megaphone to shout me along!! As we got into Warwick, a quick drink and then the "baton" was passed to Tanya who ran with me along the slightly "inclined" Primrose and Spinney Hill, again I really enjoyed this, I haven't ran with Tanya for ages so was great to have a catch up and she also pushed my pace a little which I was grateful for. 

I left Tanya at 10.5miles and ran up the hill towards Leamington, where I had arranged to meet Lina at 12/13 miles. I decided at this point to stop, and have a bit to eat. I don't know about anybody else but I can’t run and eat at the same time! It's impossible! I was also starting to get a bit of back ache so wanted to stretch it out a bit, I managed to find the stretch I needed by getting myself into some kind of weird squatting position, much to the amusement of Lina and to the horror of an old lady walking past! I knew that I needed to concentrate on keeping up right and engaging my core working my gluts (see Cathy I do listen!!) so after a few moments and a good drink, we set off for the last 7.5 miles. The next mile and a half was all up hill to the top of Cubbington, which was broken up with the appearance from Clair and her two lovely children to cheer me on, I was told not to stop (rubbish!!) so carried on and pushed through 14, 15, and then 16 miles and I felt good. Lina was periodically running behind me to check my posture and was reporting back to me how I was looking; each time she was telling me I was looking strong. I was surprised at this point that I wasn't too tired to keep myself up right, those exercises from Cathy must be working and I just kept telling myself to keep my back straight. Mile 17 was really enjoyable, I had got into my stride and at this point I was keeping pace quite well, we then ran down The Parade to the Pump Rooms where we had arranged to meet with Tracey.

Again I had a quick stretch, a drink and a couple of jelly babies (courtesy of Clair!) and set off, I really shouldn't have sat down while I had that drink as my legs had started to stiffen up but after the 18th  again I felt ok, probably because I knew this was the final stretch before home! This did start to feel like a bit of a slog, but remembering to keep my back straight, engage my core and keep my shoulders back it stopped me from tiring too much. During my last half a mile I couldn't stop smiling! How is it that this girl who is so overweight has managed to get this far and achieve this sort of distance?? I want to say that it is sheer gut and determination but I'm not sure that that is quite right, without the support of the group and its leaders there is no way that I would have got this far. 

So, I got back home, ran upstairs and got straight into the cold bath that I had ran before I had left home, with my kit on. Lina kindly made me a protein shake and bought it upstairs, just as I was screaming due to the cold! After 30 seconds or so I was ok, I sat in there in a grump for 10 minutes or so before getting out to get warm. It wasn't long before I was fast asleep!

I expected to wake up this morning with very sore legs, but to be honest, apart from them feeling a bit heavy, they feel good. I took myself off to Sport Relief (not to run, I'm not that stupid! No comments please) as I had agreed to marshal as had many of the Regency Runners. As I was walking around I realised that my legs didn't hurt, I certainly don't feel that I ran 20 miles yesterday! Cold baths work!!!!! EVEN IF I MOAN ABOUT THEM TO ANYONE WHO IS LISTENING!!!!

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