Showing posts with label running. Show all posts
Showing posts with label running. Show all posts


How I got into running part 3: half marathons and marathons

It's time for part three on how I got into running and finally multi sport. You find part one and part two of this series here. For the first three years of running I was kind off training in phases. I would train for a few months, book a race and then once the race was over I would loose interest. So for a few weeks I wouldn't run and then get to the point where I felt my fitness slipping away. Then I would usually get back into it, feeling frustrated with having to take a few steps back and rebuild the fitness/endurance I had lost.

As mentioned in previous running post in 2010/2011 my husband went on tour to Afghanistan for six month over the autumn /winter months and I was left with lots of free time by myself. I was also made redundant at the time. I picked up running again to get out of the house and try to avoid the winter blues that way. I felt like I needed a new goal, something to focus on and decided that maybe I should attempt training for a half marathon. So I did, however for some reason I never booked a race. So I was training with no race day ahead and eventually burnt out or lost interest, I can't really remember. My husband and I also did a lot of travelling once he got back from tour and in that time I wasn't running too much. I learnt a lot from this experience though. I learned that I need a goal, a race and a strategy. You can't just consistently build up and increase distance or intensity or both.

We moved to the outskirts of Reading in January 2012 due to a course my husband was/still is taking here. I revisited the idea of running a half marathon. I picked the Bracknell half in April and used a runners world training plan to prepare. I also ran a 10k in Winchester as part of my preparation and really enjoyed following this plan, seeing progress as time went past. The actual race was great, although I had a cold on the day and got soaking wet as it was raining all day. You can read all about that race here
Totally soaked and exhausted after my first half marathon

Once I had bagged that half marathon I felt like I really enjoyed the longer distances and started toying with the idea of running a full marathon. You know just one to cross it of the bucket list. I found the Abingdon marathon in November and signed myself and my husband up for it. We didn't get into the race because it was full and had to stay on the waiting list in case a space became available. I thought, who is going to drop out of a marathon? I couldn't find any other marathons for that year and decided to sign up for Brighton 2013 instead. I love Brighton and running there would be amazing.
But then in July I got the news that we had made it into the Abingdon race, hooray!!, and training began. I tell you it's hard work training for a marathon throughout summer. (maybe not this year as there isn't even Spring weather apart from like 3 days scattered over the past months) If you want to train for a full marathon I would advise booking a Spring race instead of an autumn one.

In November 2012 my hubby and I ran our first full marathon. It was his first 26.2mi /42.2km, too. I am so lucky my husband is so supportive. He does his own training and trotts along with me on long runs, which must be so boring as I am A LOT slower than him.

after my first marathon

I was in A LOT OF PAIN for about a week after running this race. On the first day I could not even get up from the sofa by myself. My husband had to lift me into a standing position. I had to physically lift my legs to turn around in bed and I had to go up and down the stairs on my bum. It was bad!!! But it got better and I knew I would do this again. Well, I did about six month later in Brighton. The days after were painful again but not as much as the first time. The human body is an amazing thing and adapts well to stress and only ends up being stronger.

I also ran a 10 miler and two more half marathons in 2012 and realised that I am much more consistent with my running if I keep setting goals and have events booked along the way. After running my first full marathon, I felt like I can do anything I set my heart to. If I don't know how, I can learn it or train and practise for it but whatever I want to achieve, I can achieve. So after having conquered the almighty marathon, I knew I would not go any further than that. I am not interested in ultra running (yet, who knows what my crazy side will set my mind to in the future).
And that is what sparked the idea of triathlon but more about that next time.

Are any of you running any races in the near future? I know Porcelina is running her first 10k soon. You should head over to her blog and wish her good luck.


My first Triathlon...

Last Sunday was finally THE DAY, I would compete in my very first triathlon. This has been a dream of mine for a while now. 
I will do a post on how I went from just running to multi-sport soon to continue my how-I-got-into-running-posts. Here are part 1 and part 2 of that series.
I was so exited about race day that I already thought the Saturday the weekend before that it was the day of the event. Pretty silly but I guess it helped getting my nerves out of the way. I couldn't sleep and was quite nervous and worried the whole day so when I realised on Sunday morning it was all false alarm and the race wasn't until the following weekend, I was very relieved.

This past Sunday started at 4:00 am for me but this time I had gotten some sleep and I was all calm and exited to go. I had all my kit packed the night before and just had to eat, put on my tri-suit and drive to the lake. Registration opened at 5:45 but we didn't get there until 6 am. I registered, racked my bike in the transition area and set up my space:  helmet, cycling gloves, shoes, food (gels, water and sports drinks just in case) and a few different shirts in case I needed to wear something over my tri-suit when coming out of the water. As this was my first triathlon, I didn't have a clue whether I would be cold in my wet clothing after the swim.

nervous much?

After setting up I had plenty of time to put on my wetsuit and make my way to the start. All participants got a short race brief and then it was time to go. I like the way the swim was organised. The men younger than 40 went in first, 10 minutes later the 40+ veteran men and then all women at 7:25. The swim is still the part that worries me most and I have heard horror stories of people swimming over other people and it all being a big mess. So with swimming being my weakest discipline and me being afraid to be pushed under I decided to start at the back of the pack. I also had not been in a lake for about 2 weeks so I was a little worried I would have wet suit issues again. 

getting in the lake

So anyways, once the veterans had taken off for their race, the ladies could get in the water to get acclimatised. I wanted to go in as soon as possible as I had problems adjusting to the cold of the water against my face in previous lake swims. It kind off takes my breath away and makes swimming that much harder. To my surprise the water was a lot warmer than at my previous lake swims and I felt comfortable very quickly. At this point I finally relaxed, forgot about all my anxieties and looked forward to the race. 
The swim was so much better than I thought. It took me 20 minutes to swim the 750 m course and I didn't come out of the lake last. That was one of my goals for the day. 

the women's swim pack
approaching the end of the swim
the hardest part is done

The first transition took me just under 5 minutes. Try to get out of a wetsuit in a hurry, then dry yourself as much as you can and get on some socks and shoes....sounds easy but man, it's hard work.

Next onto the bike part, 20 km road cycle. The first thing that happened was that my chain had come off while my bike was racked in transition but a nice marshal guy popped it back on for me while I was getting ready for the cycling. I then took a wrong turn on the course but thankfully realised it after just 100 m or so and then my chain came off again on the course. I managed to get it fixed and finished the cycle after 52 minutes.

My second transition was super fast, just about 1 minute 40. I only had to rack my bike, take off my helmet and cycling jacket (I can't believe I wore a cycling jacket....what a newbie I's like dragging a parachute behind) I'm currently not cycling with clip in shoes so I was already wearing my running shoes on the bike and didn't need to change them.
I took a sip of sports drink and off I went on the 5 km run. 

The run was a trail run, which I think I had read before but must have tried to ignore as a fact. It was a very wobbly run on the first kilometre. The uneven ground and my legs having just cycled 20 km as hard as I could, didn't really help but eventually I got into it and finished the run in 28 minutes.

My total time was 1:45:30 which was about 15 minutes faster that I expected. I was aiming for a sub 2 hour finish but that good??? Who would have thought. Needless to say, I am hooked now and can't wait to do it all over again. I think I lost my last fears of lake swimming that day. I could even imagine going in just a bathing suit now if the water is warm enough. Of course looking at the wonderful?!? English summer we are having here, I won't have to prove that any time soon.

I must say, the race was very well organised. Everyone I met on the day, organisers, helpers and athletes, were super friendly and encouraging. I wasn't the only newbie there which was nice. And there was no difference being made between the elite and the first timers.
The only bummer was, that there were no medals for the finishers. Just a T-shirt :-( I love my medals.
But then I can't find my medal from my first 5 km race either. So no firstie medals in my collection.

Do you collect your race medals? Do you do triathlon, running or think about giving any of it a go? If you do, go for it. You will never regret it! EVER!


About my other I got into running part 2

Last Thursday I started sharing my running story with you readers. If you have missed Part 1, here it is. 
After that very first 5k race I continued training without really setting any other goal than getting better at running and increasing my distance. I ran about 3 times per week for 20-40 min (3-5-ish Kilomerters -about 2-3 miles) and got stronger. I didn't do any other specific running training than just get out of the door and do it. At the early stages improvement is rather easy and you build up quickly. That is great as it keeps you motivated. I also decided to stop smoking, once again. I had tried many times before but this time it stuck and I finally got over it. This is one of the biggest improvements I have made to my lifestyle. I am so happy to have kicked that awful habit for good.
from around that time
 I July 2009 my boyfriend and I finally moved in with each other. We both moved to Colchester, where he was posted to for the next 3 years. I loved living there.  It is close to the seaside, surrounded by lots of green countryside and about the same size as the place I moved from in Germany. The best part was of course finally living together with my awesome boyfriend.
After moving I had to find a new job as my freelance work wasn't paying well enough and it was hard to do, away from Birmingham. I ended up working in a local wedding dress shop which also led to the rebirth of my sewing and dressmaking hobby. But that's another story.
Cheap days out. Still my favourite way to spend time with my husband
Dave and I were rather "poor" at the time. We didn't really have much to bring into our new home. He had been living in army accommodation and I had been living in a furnished place for the past year. All my stuff was and actually still is now  (5 1/2 years later..ooops) stored in Germany. So at the time we were saving for a house, getting the essentials for our current place AND (how could I forget) we were also planning our wedding for the following year. Dave proposed to me just before we moved to Colchester. This left no £££ for fun and we had to be clever with how to make the most out of an empty purse.
country walking
We started walking and hiking all over Essex and Suffolk, brought picnics along and had the best time for free and we were getting fitter. (well I was Dave is and has always been an amazing athlete)
I was also still running my little 3-5k loops and decided that maybe I could aim to run a 10k race. I started reading running magazines, found a training plan and learnt a lot about how to train efficiently and also how to fuel myself properly. Until then I used to be a serial dieter buying every fat free diet food product under the sun. I thought I needed to lose weight for some reason or other. I have never been much bigger or much smaller than I am now.
Since I first started running, my whole body composition has obviously changed dramatically from my unhealthy, unactive student days until today as have my energy levels. I stopped eating all that processed crap and started eating real whole foods including all their full fat varieties and surprise!!! my running improved, my mood improved and I didn't gain any weight. I also stopped yo yo-ing and generally haven't been ill for the past years. I must be doing something right. If you are interested in further information on the way I eat, research "clean eating"by Tosca Reno and various other resources on that subject. I'm not an expert so I would not want to give any advice on it. It's basically a very common sense approach to nutrition.
Back to the running bit. I ran the my first 10k, finished in just under one hour. I then spend the next three years running on and off for a few months at a time. I usually trained for a few months to prepare for a race followed by a "rest period" that lasted until I booked the next race.
being silly
Then in September 2010 my husband went on tour to Afganistan for just over 6 months. In that time I used running as a tool to keep positive. I was made redundant from my job at the time and started working for myself again. Since I was working from home, spending most of my freetime there as well, running helped me to get outside. It was a tough time for me and I think I needed to prove to myself that I'm a tough cookie that can handle times like that. I did so by wanting to conquer the next distance and run a half marathon. This has never been something I thought I could do but since I wanted to proof something to myself, I had to aim high. But more about that next time.
I hope you enjoy reading these non-sewing related posts. I am currently in need of motivation as I am training for my first Triathlon. Looking back down memory lane makes me realise how far I have come in the past 5+ years and that I have accomplished many things I would have never thought I could. It helps pushing myself to the next level.


Another passion of mine...How I got into running

Today I would like to share a bit more about another passion of mine, running. It has been a hobby of mine for 5 1/2 years now and it is slowly growing into a multi sport obsession. I have realised a growing interest in all kinds of sport and fitness around the blogging world/ social media. And since I  have just signed up for my very first Sprint triathlon in June, I thought it might be interesting to share my running story with you readers. Maybe it inspires one or two readers to give it a go (or some other sport).
I have to break this story down into a few posts and hopefully this is interesting to you. I am very passionate about my sport and only have a few friends that are any kind of sport so I have to bore you with this passion of mine and hopefully find some more like minded people that way.
To start off with, I must say I was never the sporty type. Far from it. I didn't like Sports at school very much, probably because I wasn't very good at it. I did like being outdoors building houses in the woods and riding my bike but I was mostly a geeky kid who preferred to read and craft and hang out with pet friends.
The years at uni weren't super active either. I was studying popular music and media and worked in a pub. So my exercise was going to gigs a lot and carrying (and drinking) trays of beer. I was also a pack a day smoker and serial dieter (to compensate for the weekend benders). Yup, super healthy and balanced student lifestyle.
I moved to the UK after I finished my degree because my boyfriend (now husband) was due to get posted back here from Germany. He's a soldier in the British Army. I went ahead and moved to Birmingham by myself because I could rent a place from friends there and he moved to Reading three months later for a 9 months course. We ended up leading a weekend relationship for nearly a year. It was awful. I worked 2 jobs leaving me with little free time, didn't really have any friends and since I only moved with a few suitcases, no creative outlet either to keep me sane. I ended up very depressed and unhappy all alone in Brum, fell into one of those I'm fat and ugly depressive mindsets and cried to my boyfriend on the phone nearly every night. Bless him he listened to my self pity over and over again. He's a good man!!
One weekend in March I asked my boyfriend if we could go out for a run together as I decided enough is enough, I need to get myself together and do something. He's always been super fit which made me want to work on my own non existing fitness. So out we went in whatever trainer like shoes I could find on my first run since (I believe) school. It was painful. I could barely breathe (hello smoker lungs!!!) and the running was more a shuffling along the pavement than anything else but I managed to keep shuffling for 20 minutes. Dave would not let me stop until we got back home. The whole run was only about 3 kilometres, I was in great pain but super chuffed with myself for doing something I thought I wasn't capable of. There and then I decided this is what I want to do. So I shuffled my way through the next few weeks, increasing the distance slowly as well as the speed.
Unfortunately I haven't got race pictures from that time. I wasn't a blogger then and didn't know the importance or photographing everything hahahaha)
One day at work a colleague mentioned that she was running a 5k charity race in a couple of weeks time if I was interested in running it with her. I didn't know anything about running races and thought only proper runners and athletes would take part in things like that. But I was wrong. Anybody and everybody of all abilities, shapes and sizes were there. Lots of neon tutus, superhero costumes and a great and very positive and welcoming atmosphere.
So I ran my first 5k, got my fist medal and decided that I was a runner now.
I have never gotten a medal for anything before. I wore it everywhere for the rest of the day. I still do with every new one I get. I'm cool like that ;-)
After that a whole wave of training and racing kicked loose. Some wonderful health choices followed...bye bye stinky cigarettes and bye bye weekend benders to name the most important ones but more on that next time.
Any other runners out there? Any beginners? Any veterans?


Running the Brighton Marathon

I've done it! I'm a double marathoner, woohooo!!! As I mentioned in my last post, I ran the Brighton Marathon on Sunday and I can proudly report that I made it through the finish line. It was one of the best races I have ever taken part in, I must say and I highly recommend running this race. If you want an epic crowd to cheer you on, a beautiful course to run along and lots of help in form of marshalls, "food" and drink to get you through the finish line, I recommend you sign up here asap. You can now enter for the 2014 race and get a guaranteed place. They also do an earlybird special at this point. I entered that way last year and it was easy as pie. A lot of big races like this one book up quickly (think London and Edinburgh). The Brighton Marathon is not far behind London and Edinburgh in size and awesomeness but enough advertisement for now and onto some pictures. I only have photos from my mobile to share as you can't really carry anything with you so please excuse the quality.
Walking to the start line. I really could not get lost on my way from the seafront (where we stayed the night before) to the startline in Preston Park.
Preston Park was a sea of runners. The atmosphere was so inspiring and exiting, it was quite overwhelming for me. I have quite a few races under my belt now but nothing ever this big.
The race takes you past the beautiful Brighton Pavillion twice and then mostly along the seafront. I took this picture before the race on my way to the start.
The elite runners passing. We got to see them twice. Once at the start (they start before everyone else from a slightly different start line) and once as they were coming back along the seafront while we were still running out towards the marina. It's amazing watching them run a pace I could not even sprint.
And me, through the finish line, trying to look victorious but really only managing borderline pathetic hahahaha. I had a tough race at mile 19-22, picking up again afterwards.
I finished a lot slower than my first marathon (4:46hrs) but at least it was under 5hrs. I'm very happy with it. Hey I run a bloody marathon!! It sure wasn't my last one but I think I will concentrate on half marathons again for a while to rebuild some speed. I'm also still trying to finish one in under 2 hours.s
This week will be spend recovering, progressing from waddle to walk and enjoying my new piece of running bling. Better than any piece of jewelry can ever be.
Of course I have to mentioned the very sad news the next day from Boston. My heart goes out to all runners and spectators that were there. Most of all to those who lost their lives, got injured and their families. Such a tragedy on a day that should be filled with pride, cheering and joy.
Have you ever run a marathon, or any other distance? Where and when? I hope you had a great time and achieved all your goals, you set.


Hello from Brighton

Just a quick hello from beautiful Brighton. I'll be running the Brighton marathon tomorrow (Sunday 14th) and hope the weather will be better. Please keep fingers and toes crossed for me. It's been miserable all day, so no pretty seaside shots. But we are trying to be positive, stuffing our faces and getting an early night. Hopefully I wont be as crippled by the end of tomorrow as I was after my first marathon.
 Carbloading!! The best bit before a race!!
Are any of you into running (or other endurance sports) If yes, what's your sport and what's your favourite distance? I like half marathons best, I think. They are challenging but don't knock you out like a full one does. 10k are great fun too.  Any races coming up? I'm lost now. Nothing else booked so far. Any suggestions?
And lastly what's your favourite pre and/or post race treat? I think mine is proper pizza as it's something I never get unless after a race. And a pint of cider....and maybe some ice cream.... you get the idea. LOTS!!!


I ran a Marathon.....

Yes I did! I ran my very first marathon yesterday and haven't stopped grinning since that. I am either smiling because I am so chuffed and proud or I am pulling a grimace due to the pain I am in.

before the race: super sexy bin liner outfit

My husband and I ran the Abingdon Marathon, which is a relatively small marathon. About 1000 spaces but it looked like less participants to me. I guess this is due to some getting injured in training and then have to drop out. That must be heartbreaking.
This race was one of the best organised races I have ever ran. It didn't have a great crowd of spectators but the ones that came out were awesome at cheering us on. The scenery along a lot of the track is beautiful and makes up for the lack of people. It certainly took my mind of the task ahead. There were also a lot of marshalls all along the course and plenty of water stations, jelly babies and Lucozade.

after the race

I didn't have a time goal for this one. I only wanted to finish. Since I never ran a full marathon before I didn't know what to expect so I didn't try to put even more pressure on by setting a time goal. This strategy paid off big time as I was cheerful all the way through. I didn't hit "the wall" once and enjoyed the experience. It was hard, don't get me wrong but I usually get frustrated and "stuck" at some point when I am chasing a time goal. It did get tough after mile 19 (this is the furthest I ran in training) but I then started to take one mile at a time and made it to the finish line.

My blingy proof of achievement

my personal trainer superstar

Once we had made it (my husband ran with me, I am so lucky I have him, I don't think I would be the runner that I am without his support) it got REALLY bad. My legs just stiffened up and walking back to the car was a struggle. The only reason I got out of the car again was this:

and then this a little later:

I could barely get into bed last night but once I made it I was sleeping like a stone. My legs are a little better today but I still have to lift them in and out of bed. I am also wobbling instead of walking and look like an old lady or a penguin. I hope I'll be fine again by Thursday. I am off to Hamburg for a few days to celebrate my friend's birthday. In case she is reading this HAPPY BIRTHDAY EVA!!!!

My time: 4:46 and for some reason they had my husband down as Chris? We finished holding hands....we are so cheesy ;-) that's why our times are the same

Anyways, end of story....would I do this again? Oh yes, despite all the pain, stiffness and soreness this is one of the best experiences ever. I have the Brighton Marathon booked in April. This is long enough to forget how crippled I am today and to get ready to do it all over again. I also have another half marathon booked in about 2 weeks time. I am hoping that after running the full marathon I will finally be able to get that sub 2 hour half marathon time. It should feel relatively "easy".
If you have toyed with the idea of running a race, any distance. Do it!!!  Get a good training plan and go for it. It's the best feeling when you make it over that finish line and get that medal.

I am still wearing mine today....don't judge
This made me laugh. Apart from the bloody shirt, this is me today, and probably tomorrow, too.


I got soaked

My husband and I ran the Bracknell Half Marathon today. It was my first HM race ever. I did the distance in training several times in the past year but never signed up to get an official time. It was about time....
It was a right miserable day all morning, chucking it down with rain, cold-ish see I am being very dramatic. That's how I felt.

We did brave the elements and made it through the finish line in 2:02:40. I am very chuffed with that time. I aimed for just under 2 hours so this is pretty close. I'll attempt another time to break the 2hour mark. Hopefully on a sunnier day. Enjoy my race pictures. I look awful but hey, make up and constant rain mixed with sweat does not hold up very well. Yes I do wear a little make up in races...I am naturally ginger and look completely dead without.

Me, exited before the race, sporting a very fashionable bin bag. Would this count as a homemade garment? What do you think?

Husband trying to get a shot of me but obviously I am far to fast for the camera ;-)

Running hard in the mud aka just a walk in the park

Tiered, wet, snotty and very proud mess at the end of it all

Check my medal, goodies bag and water bottle and ignore the face.

I am now presentable again, well watered and fed icing my knees with frozen soup for tomorrow. What a wonderful way to end the day!!!

I hope you l had a great weekend, too.