Tag Archives: Marathon

Downs and ups.

I have been hiding, again. Stupid I know but there are times when hiding is the only way I can cope. Fortunately I have come out the other side and am now able to explain all. …..




2 weeks ago was the Cambridge half marathon. It is fair to say that this is my least favourite race for many reasons:

1. The first year I ran it I fell over and cut my knees.

2. The next year it snowed and I had an asthma attack.

3. The following year I had not recovered sufficiently from a chest infection and hated every step.

I have finished every year but for a race that is in my local city and a beautiful scenic one at that  it is far from top of my list. This year would be different though, wouldn’t it?


On the Wednesday before I got a sore throat! I increased my intake of vitamin c, had early nights and tried to be sensible. By Saturday my asthma was beginning to play up but I convinced myself it was only asthma therefore the below the neck rule was not applicable. (The general rule when running is that if you have symptoms above the neck you are OK to run. Below then not.) I woke up Saturday to a lovely sunny morning. Deep down I knew that I probably shouldn’t be running but I needed to get the miles in.

The first half was fine. I kept to 10 minute miles and was happy to plod along. The atmosphere was good, the weather was good and I was going to take it easy. All was great until about half way. I took my inhaler, once, twice and a few more times. I eventually had to walk a bit, and then a bit more. By now I was not feeling so great. The crowds were lovely and encouraging, as were the marshalls but there was no escaping that I was feeling rough.

As I looped back through the city centre for the second time I began to look forward to the next fuel stop – water and gels. Unfortunately there were no more gels….OK I can live without those but the killer was the water. They had run out of water and so were offering runners discarded bottles with the lids taken off. Ummm thanks but no thanks!

By this time I knew that even if I walked I would get round and so I kept plodding on. A puff of the blue inhaler every other step or so!

I did complete it, in 2 hours and 20 mins which is OK but my slowest ever time. The worst bit was that I felt no elation at the end at all. I literally had nothing left. I felt no elation, no achievement or even relief.

The medal however, never fails to impress.

The medal however, never fails to impress.

I got home and slept. The next couple of days were horrible. My asthma was bad and my mood rock bottom. I honestly thought that all dreams of the marathon were over. I saw a doctor who, much to my relief did say that it was only asthma and not an infection and there was nothing else I could do. I plodded on. Disrupted sleep, lots of coughing and generally feeling low.

A week later I went back to the doctor, a different one this time. He was very sympathetic and gave me some steroids. He also said that I could run although it would not be very pleasant for me. I would do no harm. Thank goodness for that. (Deep down I think that I had blamed myself for being stupid and running when I shouldn’t have.)

The difference the steroids have made is amazing. I can breathe! As I can breathe I have energy. I can smile, laugh and am actually living rather than existing. On day 2 of the steroids I went to running club. I felt so much better than I had dared hope! The next day I managed to run 16 miles in 3 blocks. (It was the only way I could fit it in.) 6 miles at 6am, 7 miles in the pm after work and before pick up and then 3 after pick up. The boost to my confidence that this gave me was immense.

It seems that my marathon journey is still on! I have come out of hiding. I can now participate in Facebook and twitter discussions about running without wanting to curl up and cry. There is still plenty of time for injury and illness to strike again but for now, my dream is alive.

Thank you for reading my moans. xxx

Stop Running and Stop Panicking!

This post is for all those of you out there suffering from running related injuries. I know that there are a lot of you. I also understand how you are feeling but this post will hopefully make you feel a lot better and slightly more optimistic about any events coming up.


On Christmas eve I agreed to doing a run that I shouldn’t have done. As you all know, the run up to Christmas is a busy time so runs had become the barest minimum. With a 10k race coming up on New Years eve I was keen to try to build my confidence.

On Sunday I ran a 10k

6..21 mi


8:57 min/mi

Avg Pace



I was more than happy with that. My downfall really came when I agreed to run a paced run on Christmas eve with a friend.
6.21 mi
8:57 min/mi
Avg Pace


I had pain from the beginning but I pushed through…….BIG mistake. From that day on it hurt when I walked. The next few days were horrid as I came to terms with what I had stupidly done. I knew that rest was a good idea. I tried anti inflammatories. I googled it (never to be advised). Finally I consulted a physio. I wanted answers now and I wanted to do it properly as I have a marathon to train for! If you haven’t read the diagnosis then you can here.

It was three weeks before I put on my trainers again. I did do swimming, rowing and biking as I need to get those endorphins from somewhere but nothing is quite like running. 😦

On the 14th January I took the executive decision that I could run/walk a couple of miles. I was very careful as I had not had the official go ahead from the physio so definitely did more walking than running but all felt good.


The next day I got the all clear to go ahead and walk/run 🙂 This is what I did:

3.08 mi
9:53 min/mi
Avg Pace


All still felt fine. I then did some more run/walks until finally on the 21st January I finally ran 3 miles, 5 weeks after my final run.
3.00 mi
9:10 min/mi
Avg Pace


Look at the pace – not too shabby at all. I have now run 40 miles since then, gradually increasing the miles each week. (With a week off running due to a cold I might add!)

Last week I ran 8 miles in one go which is the furthest that I have run this year BUT and the best bit is that I did it in an average pace of 9.50 which I don’t think is too bad at all. The last time that I ran 8 miles pre injury was December the 8th and the average pace was 9.38.

So my purpose in writing this is that despite having had a total of 4 weeks out of 7 off running, my overall pace has not dropped anywhere as near as much as I expected. If anything I feel stronger than before. My body has had a bit of a rest, the pressure has been taken off me and I am enjoying running more than ever. Everytime I go out I remind myself how lucky I am to be able to go for a run.

lucky running

Original picture from here.

So if you have an injury my advice would be to cross train and to give it the rest it needs to repair itself. Your body will not go back to being a beginner runner overnight. All those miles and training really do count. So stop panicking and give your body the time it needs. Your body will definitely thank you for it.


As for me I am continuing to add-on the miles as I build up for the London Marathon which I am running for Mind. To read my story click here. To donate click here.

MINDful training

Thank you to all who have commented on my last post. It is definitely great to be back. Look at me 2 posts in one week!

At the weekend I did something that I am slightly embarrassed to admit. I went to London….on….my….own. I know that it sounds mad but it is true. I got dropped off at the station. Got on a train and sat down to crochet with everything…..quiet. Yep, no chattering children but a VERY noisy old train. Oh well everything couldn’t be perfect could it?

My reason for going was for a get together for everyone running the London or Brighton Marathon for MIND.  Amazing!

This was where we met… the London Marathon Shop.                                         Source

This is the entrance. The TV’s showed the race. I had no idea that there was such a place. Right by Liverpool street should you be wondering. The best bit was that MIND runners get 20% off all the goodies in the shop. How tempting is that?

Inside there are a lot of lovely things. Some really nice tops and lots of shoes…….

This was one of my favourite bits….examples of the medals for each of the races.             Source

Downstairs was amazing. There is a ‘locker room’ with showers. The doors were amazing as they were really well hidden.

When they were shut that is!                      Source

All this showers bit was very important because we were going on a training run before lunch and talks. Don’t want to be all smelly for the rest of the day! The run was a 10k which was great because I knew that I could do it. The worst bit was the worry that I may just get lost. There was someone at the front and someone at the back but I was unlikely to be at either of these points so needed to ensure that I kept a close eye on those in front. This was harder than it might appear because London is full of people. (I know, shocking concept!)

This is a picture of the route.

This is a picture of the route.

Reading the blogs of people lucky enough to run in London regularly (Lottie of London) this was a really big thing for me as I read their posts and wish. We went past the London Eye, Big Ben and the houses of Westminster as well as some lesser known parts.

One thing that I had not appreciated before Saturday was the problem that people cause. I run on my own more often than not, in quiet streets. The only time people are a real problem is when I run in organised events. Even then the people are generally moving in the same direction but in London there is no order whatsoever. I now have a great deal of respect of people running in cities. Dodging takes on a whole new meaning! I am also convinced that I ran a bit further than the 10.2 they said I did.

On an entirely different note, my Garmin took some adjusting to working in London and being surrounded by tall buildings so it didn’t record the full 10K as it took a while to find a reliable signal (at one point the pace was 03.00 minute miles!!) I do think that I did run quite fast – probably all that dodging about!

As far as my husband was concerned I actually came away without spending any money despite being very tempted!











Well hello everyone. It has been a long time and I have missed you all.

The excuses:

I have increased my hours at work (rather drastically). All the work that I do at home tends to be on a laptop and the last thing that I feel like doing is firing up another one. However this weekend the urge is too hard to resist. I am returning.

Older and wiser

I cannot promise that I will post regularly but I figure that some is better than none and I will definitely be a better person for it so here I am. 🙂 I am going to try to be a little less obsessive and more relaxed. We shall see…….

So what have you missed?

Duhh. LOADS. Obviously! I shall not bore you with a very long post now but catch you up over time. For now here is a little taster:

  • I have knitted a couple of top-secret knits for notsogranny that were very enjoyable. Hopefully  they will be coming out soon so I can share them fully. One involved stranded knitting which meant that I had to learn knitting with yarn in both hands:Oh I am so proud of myself!         Source
  • I have re-committed to  running stumbling around the London marathon for the charity mind.        
  • I have rejoined the local running club.
  • I have started to teach 4 children to knit.
  • I made a dress! (yes really)
  • Currently I am crocheting this hill top hat (again by notsogranny) Hill Top Hat

So, enough for now methinks. What about you? What have you been up to?

A Virtual Hug

I have just read this post from Notsogranny. At the end I wanted to give her a huge hug. I so recognised the feelings that she was experiencing, in fact I had been so caught up in my own ‘problems’ that I had failed to see how she was feeling. (Bad, bad friend).


It is no secret that this has been a tougher than usual week for me and, yes, I had let myself get a bit melodramatic and caught up in it but perspective is a funny thing. I view Joanne’s life as a real achievement, something that is to be aspired to but failed to recognise that her life, like mine has its ups and downs too. Yes she has a wonderful family, built up an amazing business around her teaching, designing, tech editing and producing but there are times when burn out happens to her as well.

Not So Granny


We all get so busy, caught up in all sorts of amazing, exciting opportunities that sometimes it is hard to step back and remember who we are and what is truly important to us. My illness should not really come as a surprise as I had been saying for a little while that something needed to give. It turns out that this is my health!  I am a firm believer that everything that we encounter makes us who we are. I may have started today morose but I am not going to end it that way.

Last night I got out my wire and had a go at doing some wire hearts. I had a play and enjoyed myself. I relaxed a bit.

This is the biggest heart.

This is the biggest heart.

A middly sized heart.

A middly sized heart.

A tiny heart.

A tiny heart.


That is not to say that I haven’t enjoyed everything that I have been doing recently. I have. A lot. But I do push myself. Constantly. I am always trying to learn new things and take on something new. Even this week, when I was ill in my bed I ‘took the opportunity to have a go at Viking Knit’. Hmmm yes, even when ill I am pushing myself.

The beginnings of a Viking knit

The beginnings of a Viking knit

So, going forward I am going to try to step back a bit, and take a bit more time. I am writing this here so you can all remind me. Starting from now. I don’t think that I am going to defer my marathon. I may not be preparing in quite the way that I expected, or even, be able to quite achieve what I wanted to but I am not an elite athlete. I am going to go out there and enjoy myself. It is an experience that I am going to enjoy. I had a *cough* big birthday this week. Life is for living in the best way possible for you in the here and now. I am going to try to remember this. Always.


If you are having a wobble for what ever reason then please accept a hug from me. Life is busy, it even gets in the way but whatever you are doing try to enjoy it. xx

Up and Down.

Training. Hmm. The date when official training should start is getting far too close for my liking. I seem to be in a pattern of having a good week followed by a bad week. Today, I wondered what on earth I am doing. My whole body seemed to be screaming at me, aching and hurting where it really shouldn’t be.

Two weeks ago, however, I had a much better time. I felt that I was getting faster and had settled into a ‘sort of a’ routine. I ran a paced one, an interval one, a recovery one, a longish one and a hill one. All in one week. Smug? well a little. Especially with the hill session.

I ran four miles all within one mile of my house, I even managed to find a ‘hill’ (for around here anyway).

I bet it doesn't look much like it to many of you - go on have a good laugh!

I bet it doesn’t look much like it to many of you – go on have a good laugh!

It does go on a bit further...

It does go on a bit further… I think I may have to take a photo at the bottom. Maybe it will look more like a hill from there?

I sprinted up it six times, jogging back down I felt strongish and on top of my mental doubting voice. The next week I barely ran at all. I still live with the good feeling which is what makes me keep going out and ‘trying’ to run.

How do you get yourself back into the ‘grove’? I hope mine comes back very soon. xx

Week 1

I have started my training for the London marathon. It is possibly a few weeks early as, if I followed the plan exactly I would finish a couple of weeks after Christmas! A few weeks before  the actual race (peak too early as they say!) I am, however, factoring in the inevitable illness, busyness, life, weather etc that will get in the way…

If you have looked for training plans then you will know that there are loads out there… all slightly different, all with the same goal. I have to be honest. I have never followed a plan from beginning to end. Usually because I enter a race at the last-minute. This time I am doing things properly (well this week anyway!)


I found a really great offer through runners world where, in return for 3 months subscription of £3 you get some downloadable plans. I thought that this was a great idea and took it up. this is the plan that I will be following. It is a 14 week plan which, at the moment, looks doable.

This week I have / will:

Recovery run on Monday (I did a long run on Saturday). It was meant to be 25 mins but I went out with a friend and we did a ‘steady’ 4 miles.

Threshold run on Tuesday. This involved a warm up of 1/2 a mile. Hard run for 10 minutes. 2 minute recovery (walk), another hard run for 10 minutes followed by another 2 minute recovery (walk). Cool down of another 1/2 mile or so (I made it up to 4 miles.)

Wednesday was a recovery run followed by 30 minutes cross training. I should have used this opportunity to go to the gym to work on strengthening my leg muscles that caused my knee problems earlier this year(I can’t have that happening again) and had every intention of doing so – before going for a 4 mile run with my friend. I have to say that my legs felt a bit tired today!

Thursday: rest day

Friday: Kenyan Hills. You will note that today is Friday so I have yet to do this slight torture. I am supposed to run up a hill, then down, then straight back up. YUCK. (I also don’t have many hills around me!)

Saturday: 75 minute run. We shall see!

Have you ever followed an exercise plan to the letter? Did it work or am I wasting my time? Since the weather has dropped a few degrees I have to say that the idea of running is loosing its attraction!

Post Marathon Update

I am going to do a very quick update on my running.  It has been a fair while after all!

Immediately Afterwards

Yes I did feel awful but I was very surprised to be able to walk about relatively pain-free the next day. Yes I was a bit sore and stiff but not as bad as I had thought. When I answered the phone at half past seven to find that I was being asked to go and work for the day I didn’t really hesitate. I never ever thought that would be possible. I did no exercise however until Friday – 4 days later. I went to the gym.


I mainly did this because I knew that I was not going to be able to do anything for at least a week due to the second op on my back. I had a nice ‘relaxed’ session that didn’t involve a lot of running!!

Post Op

You will all be very aware that I had slightly more than I expected taken from my back so did no exercise for nearly 2 weeks (Aren’t I a good girl?)

Back Running

Last week I started with a few 3 mile runs – nice and gentle. To be honest I could not do much else. I was finding it quite hard to breath and my legs just weren’t really co-operating. My Garmin was telling me that I was running just under 10 minute miles which for three miles is really slow. I do wonder if this is normal? After the first time I ran my legs hurt the next day. I really couldn’t believe it. 2 weeks ago I had run a marathon and now I could barely manage three miles. Do you think this is normal?


Over the bank holiday we went on a bike ride (7-8 miles). It was very slow as we had little people biking with us. That was no worries – even with an extra body on the back of my bike. It reignited my fire and so I went running the next day. During this run (5 miles this time) my knee started hurting. There was no obvious reason for it but I found it hurt to walk for the rest of the day. I spoke to my running partner and she said that it sounded just like what she has. It is apparently very common and not a problem with the knee but with the hip and upper leg muscles. I have to say that at the gym today my right leg (the one with the hurt knee) did feel really tight. I think that I need to focus on stretching it out and strengthening it. Does anyone have any ideas if I am on the right lines? I hate not being able to run 😦

One Final Observation

This week I have been talking to someone who has just started running and she said that she actively tries to go out at times when she won’t be seen. I remember doing this – choosing routes that are away from the majority of people and where I face less chance of being seen . Yesterday however – when I was really struggling with my pace I realised that I really did not mind or worry about what anyone thought of me. I know that I have done a marathon and that has given me a real confidence boost. I no longer care what other people think – I know what I can do and that is all that matters 🙂 Believe me – for me that is a HUGE step forward.

What have you done that has changed your attitude?




The Milton Keynes Marathon


Despite all the fears and worries.

It was not easy but I didn’t expect it to be so that is fine.

The Organisation:

Great! The venue was easy to get to. The start line was easy to find.

marathon 003

The start from the spectators view.

There were plenty of stations to get water from with sports drinks and gels at three points around the circuit. At each of these stations there were plenty of volunteers so there was no congestion. At the end there were again plenty of people to hand out the medals and goody bags. There was even someone to give you a print out of you finish and chip time.

The Course

I chose the Milton Keynes marathon because I assumed that it would be quite flat, lots of roundabouts but flat. I was correct in that it wasn’t mountainous but there were quite a lot of short ups and downs as we went under lots of under passes and over hump back bridges over the canal.

These obviously took a lot out of our legs.

I enjoyed the course – there was some road running at the beginning around offices but it was mostly on cycle paths and paths. We went through housing estates and parks, through wooded areas and around lakes.

marathon 015

The busiest part was in a park (I am not wearing the pink Tu-tu!)

The course was well marshaled and there were plenty of supporters. There were also parts with very few supporters but that was OK as these were quickly followed by supported parts. Most importantly the course was a single loop and not laps. There was one part where we were running alongside those ahead of us but this was towards the beginning and not at the end when we were tired!

My performance

It was a hot day! There was a fair bit of shade along the way which helped but it was hard. At times I felt quite sick but wasn’t sure if this was to do with not taking on enough or taking on too much!!

At half way I felt strong (half marathons will seem easy now!) and we were running at a consistent pace of between 10.20 – 10.30 min miles. This was probably a bit fast but I was just relieved that it wasn’t any faster! My running partner had a knee injury that (unknown to me) started playing her up at 7 miles into the race. She was able to keep going until just before 13 when she began to struggle. I slowed down to stay with her but I suspect that this was the beginning of the end for me. My muscles began to cease up a bit and once I had walked once the barrier had been broken! It was easier to walk bits from then. I did mainly keep the walking bits to the uphill bits, they were so steep!

My mental strategy

I started at 26 and worked backwards. Therefore the first point ti aim for was 6 miles in – 20. Then 13 (half way). the next obvious point was 9 – down to single figures and from there 3 miles intervals. It did work – sort of!

The last stretch

Very, very hard!! No other way to say it. At one point I thought that I would have to be carried to the finish but I would not then get the medal so I pushed on! The finish for this marathon is the MK Dons stadium. This came into view during the last mile but seemed to be so near but so far….

I knew that once in the stadium we had to run around the edge of the pitch which I knew would be very hard. However, on entering the stadium you didn’t have to go right around. This was really good news to me and meant that I was able to run around to the finish. Within in reach of the finish line my calf began to cramp but, thankfully only for a second and I made it across the line in 4hrs and 49. I was so pleased with myself 🙂 Under 5 hours. VERY pleased with that. No regrets at all – just pride. (Oh I did feel REALLY ill at the end but I was able to move incredibly well the next day!

Will I do another one? Really not sure yet….. One is definitely enough for now and more than I thought I would ever do 🙂

Uh oh!


I have just 2 weeks until a half Marathon that I have signed up for. That in itself is not particularly a problem, except that I have not managed to do much training at all. In fact, if you look at my running totals page you will see that my training has fallen to the lowest level this year! In June I ran 109 miles and in July just 39! My last run of distance was on the 28th July (8 miles), nearly a whole month ago.



I am very weak-willed and so will make some excuses. August is holiday time. I have three mini people who I love being around but are full of energy. When it comes to the evening      when I have the time to exercise I am quite exhausted. We have also had a lovely holiday away which was great fun but again, exhausting.

I do know that I could have made a bit more effort but ….. well enough of this. I am not going to get fit by making excuses.

“If you really want to do it, you do it. There are no excuses. “Bruce Nauman

This week looks like this:
Monday: 3.15 miles with average pace 10.22
Tuesday: 3.26 miles with average pace 10.27
(Probably a little bit too much chatting going on?)
Friday: 4 miles with average pace of 9.04
Saturday: 10miles with average pace of 10.02
It is probably true therefore, if you want something bad enough you will do it! I want to be able to run this half marathon without too much pain and I have realised that time is running out so I have started to train.
No Pain, No Gain
I knew that I was being a bit silly last night, going out and doing 4 miles but I couldn’t stop myself. The 10 miles this morning was only possible because I ran with my brother and I daren’t complain. (I did stop once because I felt very sick but he stopped soon after as it was raining very hard and he couldn’t see though his glasses!). I did find the last mile particularly hard and luckily found a bench just where I finished to (collapse) have a bit of a rest on. 🙂
I am a bit worried about the half marathon although I am trying to boost myself by saying that I did run 14 miles in less than 24 hours which must help my fitness? As for the next couple of weeks I will have to try my hardest not to go out and completely kill myself getting the miles under my belt!
If you have any words of wisdom to help me correct my mistake I would love to hear it. I have 2 weeks from tomorrow! Hope you all have a good week :).