Sunday, 26 February 2012

R is for Reality Check!

It started so well. For once, my idea of 'early' morning coincided with the race organisers idea of 'early'... the race started at 11am! Which meant that I could lie in until 8, have a leisurely hour preparing myself mentally (whilst eating my own - slightly reduced- bodyweight in carbs) then mosey on down to the starting line. 
Looking relaxed.... little did I know...

I knew that this race was organised by 'proper runners' as my husband calls them- everyone he ever sees moving quickly- from the woman speed walking with her dog to the guy pushing a buggy up the hill -is a 'proper runner.' I'm not though... because I'm still going through a 'phase!' GRRRR...
Having never been to a race organised by a proper running club before, I was totally unprepared for the sheer level of professionalism with which these lycra clad people approached their sport. 'eee by gum, it was impressive. 80% of the runners arrived on foot... they had run to the race. For the hour leading up to the race (whilst my husband and kids emptied the bacon butty stand) they ran laps of the rugby club at which the race was starting. Then we set off... and it was blooming awful.
Me and Gabby pretending to be proper runners
The pack split straight away. 600 runners were in the race... 550 of them vanished in a cloud of dust, leaving 50 non-club runners flailing at the back... walking up the vertical inclines and swearing our way through 6 miles of painful, torturous terrain. Because I was dealing with my 4 year old, I actually started at the very back of the pack... I finished tenth from last... it took me 6 miles to pass 9 people including a guy on a crutch and a seventy three year old runner called Bernard.  It was his first ever race.
Suck much? Yes I do.
Where did everyone go? 
I feel no sense of pride as I write this blog. Actually, I have spent most of today feeling really cross with myself. If I could move my legs without wincing, I would kick myself! When my husband and I talked about it afterwards, he explained to me that some people are just built to run, it's genetic and that I have "other skills... like writing and... erm..." I may be deluded, but I think I am built to run. Thank God in Heaven above I am fit, healthy, I eat well, I stretch loads and hey, I really rock that lycra. It's time to face facts, I need some professional help! No. I don't mean therapy. I'm going to bite the bullet and join a running club.  I want to be in that cloud of dust, wearing a vest with my team's name on it having taken running advice from people who really know the sport.
Last year, I enjoyed learning as much as I could through lots of trials and many, many errors (remember when I pee'd into the patch of nettles?!) I have 4 half marathons and countless 10K's to do this year... it's time to get serious!
Feeling quite fierce. Grrr...  xxx

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

A is for A Very Special Guest Blogger...

A few weeks ago, a lovely young lady called Liz e-mailed me and asked if she could post an article onto this blog. As soon as I read the article, I said yes and you will soon see why. Many thanks to Liz  for the time and effort involved in putting together such a professional article... regular readers, don't get used to it- we'll be back to general waffle and grumbles tomorrow! 
Take it away Liz... 
Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested in health and wellness. She wants to make a difference in people’s lives because she sees how cancer has devastated so many people in this world. Liz also likes running, playing lacrosse, reading and playing with her dog, April.

The Benefits of Staying Active for Cancer Patients 
Exercising is sometimes one of the last priorities for cancer patients, particularly if they have just undergone chemotherapy. Although physical activity might seem like too much work, exercise can actually improve a patient’s physical and mental state. Before post-operative patients begin a new regimen, they should check with their doctors to see which specific workouts are the most appropriate. Treatment for lung cancer and mesothelioma causes patients tends to focus on increasing lung capacity while arm exercises might be best for breast cancer patients.
Physical Effects
Exercise helps to build physical strength and endurance. After being in the hospital, or going through bouts of chemotherapy, many patients find that regular workouts help to rebuild their strength, and makes handling treatment side effects more bearable. At the same time, exercise can help prevent the onset of pain associated with cancer by decreasing its prevalence.
Improved Mental Outlook
Aside from the physical benefits, exercise directly improves the mental states of cancer patients by increasing the release of good mood hormones and preventing anxiety. Since this type of chronic illness takes such an emotional toll, many patients find that having a sharp brain and positive outlook are both imperative to surviving the disease.
Types of Exercises
Cancer remission often leaves survivors weak and with little physical energy. This can be disheartening to patients who were once extremely active and engaged in high-intensity activities, such as running. In order to reap the physical and mental benefits of exercise without setting goals too high, cancer patients should focus on low-intensity exercises such as swimming and walking. These workouts are also perfect for those looking to start off slowly and gradually add on laps or miles. Yoga can also be incorporated into a routine, but it is best to seek the guidance of an instructor to prevent injury.
            No matter which workout a patient chooses, consistency is important. Patients can focus on exercising 20 to 30 minutes at a time to start, for three days a week. As cancer survivors grow stronger, they can consider increasing the duration and number of workouts they do—with the consent of a doctor.
When to See a Doctor
The first time a patient works out after being in the hospital can take its physical toll on a patient’s muscles. However, if a patient experiences a great deal of pain or extreme fatigue post-exercise, then he or she should consult with a physician immediately. Regular exercise does help most cancer patients recover, but a few might not be physically ready for it as soon as other patients in remission. 

Sunday, 19 February 2012

I is for IT'S ARRIVED!

Meet Gary the Garmin. He's reliable, trustworthy and will run with you through the most horrendous weather conditions. I might just trade in my husband... 
...and it's just as wonderful as I had hoped! Not only did it arrive two days early, it also started working as soon as I plugged it in. I know, how amazing! Okay, I had to run to the top of the street so that it could find a satellite with which to set the time but I often have jump on my bed  to get a signal on my mobile phone. I know it's fantastic but it's not a blooming miracle worker (otherwise I would have lost another stone this weekend and I would be driving a brand new yellow Porsche 911.)
Because I'm a girl who likes to name everything (my car is called Sally, my husbands car is called Victor- much to his irritation) my new Garmin is called Gary. Inventive I know. A real inspiration. I just don't know where my idea's come from. Gary and I went for an eight mile run today. We spent 5 miles running into the arctic wind. It's the first run I've ever done where I haven't actually gotten warm- I started the run shivering and finished the run blue. But Gary was magnificent- he peeped every time I ran another mile and his backlight was simply wonderful. Sure, I nearly fell under a car playing with Gary's buttons. Sure I lost the satellite signal a couple of times. Sure, I almost deleted my workout when I was trying to save it but hey, that's technology for you.
As it turns out, Gary arrived just in the nick of time. On Friday I received an e-mail telling me that I am officially running the BUPA Great North Run! EEEEEKKKKK...what are the chances of that happening? Actually, about 8 to 1! I never expected to be successful but here I am, already waking up screaming in the middle of the night because, in my dreams at least, I am doing my very first televised half marathon in the nude. Even worse, I've re-gained all of my wobbly bits... and they are filling the screens of the nation's disgusted viewers! Apparently the television adds 8 pounds to svelte models... I dread to think how I'll look... like a cross between king-kong and an umpa-loompa. Perhaps I should bite the bullet and go dressed as an umpa-loompa then at least people will think I'm being ironic.  
Do you think I'll be able to hide myself in a crowd this big? It will be like 'Where's Wally?' A new national sport! 
I fear that I am ranting (again. ) Obviously, the race is not until September and I will not spend the whole of the next 7 months fixated on my wobbly bottom in an umpa-loompa's costume, nor will I fret and have nightmares about humiliating myself... in public... on national television. No dear readers, I will be cool, calm and collected... just like normal. (In case you were wondering, that was me practising being ironic!)
7 months to go x

Thursday, 16 February 2012

N is for New Arrival

Hi everyone and happy February! It may be a little late but I have just realised this is my first February blog- oh no! I have been running and exercising- I promise. I've even lost 2 more pounds. The problem is that I've been a little... well... distracted.
The truth is you see, on Monday the 20th of February, I am eagerly expecting a new arrival. I know it will be hard. I know there will be times when I feel like giving up and throwing in the towel. But I am ready, dear readers!
Believe me, I have done this twice before so I am fully prepared for:
·         middle of the night floor pacing whilst my husband and I struggle to find the on/off switch
·         stress and confusion whilst we try to decipher everyone else's instructions and tips
·         the expense- have you any idea how much these things cost?
On Monday morning, my middle aged, sweetly smiling, definitely balding post man will act as the stork when he delivers my new GARMIN! (Cue rapturous round of applause.) I have been researching the new addition to our family since Christmas and am truly giddy at the prospect of being able to put funny looking links onto my Daily Mile account so that fellow runners can share in my delight/pain- of course, it could take me until next February to work out how to switch the thing on but hey, keep the faith!
            According to Amazon, my new baby will look like this:

It's not the most expensive Garmin- it won't tell me my heart rate whilst counting my steps and telling me I'm only working at 30% of my actual ability (i.e. that I'm being lazy.) If it did that, the thing would end up swimming with the fishes in the local canal. No, it looks nice and simple... I just hope that appearances aren't deceptive!
            If you have any top tips please let me know... otherwise my miles will consist entirely of floors paced during arguments with my techie husband...
            4 days to go x