Tag Archives: running

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.

The annual pilgramage

On the first Friday of this year I took my ‘annual’ pilgrimage to buy new trainers.  I have put annual in inverted commas because with the miles that I run you should change them more often than that and so always enter the shop knowing that I will get a bit of teasing about the state of the trainers I am wearing.

This year, due to my injury the jokes had started even before I went to the shop. The physio took one look at them and, politely (at first) suggested that I should invest in a new pair.  I can see his point. The soles are worn bare so there is next to no grip. Obviously they were dirty but the worse thing was that any support is probably almost non-existent, hence possibly the injury?

See what I mean?

See what I mean?

These are them when they were new! A bit different don't you think?

These are them when they were new! A bit different don’t you think?

So how often should you change your shoes?

The man in the shop said 300-500 miles which also seems to be the consensus having done a google search.  (ooops I did more like 700!) They do make it clear that it depends on you as an individual. We are all different shapes, sizes and run with our own individual style. One thing to be sure, worn out shoes will probably mean that your body starts to give you niggles.

On my search I did find this handy little shoe tracker to help you keep an eye on how many miles you are running.

How many pairs of running shoes should you have?

Apparently more than one and by this I don’t mean 1 pair for the road and 1 for trail, but 2 pairs that you can rotate between. My husband thinks that I am having him on but there are good reasons for this. There are the obvious ones such as there will always be plenty of time to allow shoes to dry out between wet runs. The gel and foam within your shoes also needs time to recover after a run. If you don’t do this then they will lose their bounce more quickly. It will also mean that you will not find yourself in the situation that I find myself, having a pair that is fit for the bin with another pair that needs breaking in gently. Normally the idea of doing a few short runs is painful for me (it will obviously not be a problem for me as I shall only be doing short distances when I start running again!)

Having two pairs does not mean spending more money than otherwise as they will last the same amount of time or even longer.

Where should you buy your shoes?

I am a great believer in going to proper running shops. Yes they are more expensive but the service I had was excellent. I was filmed on a treadmill wearing neutral shoes and then ones with progressively more support. You might think that once they found a pair that suited me they would sell me those  but no. They found 3. I was then sent outside to run around to see which ones I really liked. The whole experience was lovely. I also got to spend an hour or so talking with someone who really got running and what it means to me.

My shiny new trainers.

My shiny new trainers.

I wonder how long these will look like this? They certainly scream NEW SHOES!

I must be a top sports person!

I now have a gym membership, a personal trainer and a physio. All that I now need is a driver, chef/nutritionist….


Joking aside, I ended 2014 with an injury to my Achilles (an injury all the top sports people have according to my husband!) This is partly why I have been so quiet over the Christmas period. Social media was full of the runs that everyone was doing and the training programs that they had started. All far too depressing for me.


I tried to be really sensible and rest it knowing that an injury now is not too bad but if I made it worse the marathon may well be in jeopardy again. I can’t have that! Still annoying though, especially as, unusually for this time of year we have had some gloriously sunny days………


Having rested it for 5 days, I needed to know more hence the phone call to the physio. I needed to know what I had done and get some concrete information. Death by Google was just scaring me. Luckily they had an appointment for later that day YAY!!.


Never one to be normal or easy I made the poor (lovely) man work for his money. He prodded and poked but could not make it hurt (maybe I should be grateful?). Eventually he left my ankle and moved up to my calf. THAT HURT!

Looking at this you can see that the calf and the achilles is linked.     Source



Do you think of massages as nice and relaxing? Well this one wasn’t. IT HURT. A LOT. Mind you, I was happy with anything if it was going to help. The next day I was sent some stretches to do at home. I am doing them. Religiously,

I was told no running for a week or two. Rubbish when I am supposed to be in week one of my marathon training program. The only consolation is that all the programs start of with minimal millage so I am not missing that much. Maybe a rest will do me good? I am trying to keep my cv up by swimming, biking and rowing in the gym  but it is not the same. I miss running….the freedom…….fresh air……..

My secret hope is that the pain is all gone by the time I return to the physio on Monday (well I can dream…….;))

I shall keep you informed….Sorry to moan.



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?

Bank Holiday Acticities

Regular readers of this little space will have noticed that I have had a little holiday. I have read many of your wonderful blog posts over the last week but have only just read and answered many of your comments. If you have a comment from me that makes no sense at all then forgive me for the long pause.

I shall share a bit about my holiday in a later post but today I want to share with you our adventure today. It is a bank holiday here in England this weekend and, surprisingly quite sunny. This was just as well as I had promised my boys that I would take them to the local junior park run. For those of you who don’t know, park runs are free, timed, weekly events that take place up and down the country (and even internationally). The adult distance is 5K and my eldest has beaten me several times over this distance.

Our local park run takes place in a wooded area with gravel pits.

Our local park run takes place in a wooded area with gravel pits.

Today was all about the under 14’s. It was run over 2k and was a REALLY pleasant experience. It was really well organised with a very clear briefing (by a very friendly youngster) and a brief but fun warm up.

The warm up.

The warm up.

It was very well marshaled with the whole course covered so that participants could be seen at all times. (It is a public park.) It was a lovely atmosphere with parents allowed to join in.

My children set off at a real sprint and we soon lost them all. After a while I managed to catch them up and ran the majority of it with my middle one (there was no way I was going to be able to catch up with my eldest, indeed I expected to be lapped by him!) My youngest managed to help his Dad get around in one piece!

The finishing funnel.

The finishing funnel.

Later that morning the results were in letting them know how fast they ran it, what position they were in and how they did compared to their age group.

I think this is an event that we will be returning to. I cannot fault it at all – especially as it is the only way I will ever get my husband running (and it will do him the world of good!)

I hope you all enjoyed your weekends as much.x

You Broke Me!

This is what notsogranny said about ‘my’ personal trainer because whenever I sat down for any length of time on Sunday I stiffened up and ended up hobbling along. Saturday morning I had been put through my paces, for the first time in 2 weeks, and I was suffering!


You may remember that when I was training the London Marathon last year, my biggest fear was that I would get injured. In an attempt to combat this I booked some sessions with a personal trainer. The idea was to strengthen all the supporting muscles that don’t actually get used that much in running. I know I was surprised too – there are some muscles in the legs that don’t get used that much in running!

Due to my illness I didn’t use many of the sessions that I had paid for but have now been trying to meet regularly with him. The sessions may appear to be quite ‘easy’ to some as I am, not huffing and puffing or sweating profusely. That is not the aim.

I start off rolling my muscles on a ball and with a foam roller to loosen them off and get rid of knots (which often hurts!). I then move onto squats, lunges, leg curls, step ups interspersed with a few lat pull downs and chest presses. Yes my legs get a bit wobbly and even hurt a bit but at the time it is never that bad.


It would appear that the break of 2 weeks was just a bit too much for the legs. There is a part of me that likes the ache as I know that I have done something good but I have to admit to being a bit embarrassed as I hobbled and moaned around on Sunday!


I was even still stiff on Monday but did manage a gentle jog, which was just as well as I saw this lovely sunset:

Sunset over the cornfield.

Sunset over the cornfield.