Friday, 30 October 2015

Decisions, decisions.......

Why is making a decision so hard to do?

In 6 months time it's the Winchester Triathlon. This year I did the novice race. The swim was no problem, the cycle I really struggled with (admittedly no where near as much training done as I should have done), and then a 2.5km run, which initially I may as well have had spaghetti for legs. I was exhausted!!!!

I have friends who believe that the sprint distance is well within achievable reach. Now admittedly I hated the hills on the cycle route on that occasion. I also am doing the Southampton Half marathon 8 days before Winchester Tri. Is both achievable without worrying about having a PB to worry about?

I would really have to focus on all three disciplines over the next 6 months, particularly the cycling and running. The swimming, whilst equally important, I feel is the most achievable discipline for me.

What are my worries? Struggling with low motivation and low mood predominantly over the next few months. I really need to sit down and write all the pros and cons to entering this event - factual ones, rather than perceived pros and cons, and the what-ifs. 

Let's not also forget that whilst I have plenty of options for my #fortyb4forty challenge, it would be nice to have a little variety.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Lesson learnt

One thing I have learned much to the detriment of my back account is the importance of running footwear.

A few months ago I bought a new pair of trainers as my other ones needed replacing, and whilst initially they were great, more recently I have been having knee pain whilst wearing them. The difference with these trainers compared to my last is that I changed to a different brand. I had them fitted but clearly they're weren't to be.

So I now have gone back to my usual brand, albeit an upgrade of what I had before. Already even just wearing them around the house, I'm noticing how much more comfortable they are, how much more stable my feet feel, and the ache in my knee I had, and managed to ignore wearing the others, has disappeared.

So what have I now got? A fabulous red/black pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 15.

The wide range of running footwear is vast, and the advice on what you should go for is varied, whether you are a pronater, or an over-pronater, how much support and stability shoes offer, barefoot shoes. But one piece of advice is go and get to a running shop that specialises in gait analysis. 

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Event 5/40 #fortyb4forty

So, what an amazing time I had in the end at Great South Run. After initial anxiety and panic about doing it, once I was moving it was much much better. I didn't have any anxiety symptoms on approaching the finish either. That made all the difference.

I ran/walked as I planned to do. I stayed comfortable and got around. No personal best, but I'm still really happy that I finished it, and have since gained more sponsorship for my fundraising.

I did struggle with a painful knee, and a sore foot - of course it was different legs!! I wasn't quite sure which leg to hobble with!! The foot has now recovered, but the knee hasn't so much. I think I'll be getting it checked out soon.

The weather was lovely. A balmy 16 degree Celsius. If I heard right, the race organisers were implementing the warm weather plan, which is unheard of in October!!!

I'm really happy with what I did today. It was fab seeing club members running today, and the cheerleading team at the end. I have definitely come away a happy hedgie. Thanks Jim for this photo!! 

Friday, 23 October 2015

2 days to go

On Sunday, if you didn't know, it's the Great South Run. About 25,000 runners take part on a 10 mile course around Portsmouth and Southsea. It's very flat - I can definitely testify to that having run it last year. It's also event 5/40 in my #fortyb4forty challenge.

So how am I feeling this year about it? Probably pretty much the same as I felt last year about it. Nervous, excited, worried about finishing, am I going to get there on time, where are the water stations? All those kind of questions. 

So my plan? To run/walk the course, staying comfortable so that I enjoy it. There is no pressure to time. I vaguely know the distance the drink stations are located at so my mindset is to make it to each drinks station, then to the next etc until the finish.

I'm desperate to try and use this large event as a big fundraiser for the charity I am raising money for. I have raised 26% of my target amount, so far, so it's good. And I'm aware I will still have 35 events to go after this one. But to raise more than my target amount would just be really awesome.

I have music to listen to going round. I love my aftershokz bone conduction headphones. They are really comfortable and I still have a reasonable awareness of what's going on around me when I'm wearing them.

So there we are. Big event coming up, and loads of running club members either running or helping win marshalling.

I have permission from the owner of this inspirational quote to post this on my blog. It's from 'May the thoughts be with you', from the Facebook page. 

And if you feel like sponsoring me you can donate by text using the code JWHH52 £5 to 70070 or visit my just giving page at 

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Event 4/40 #fortyb4forty

This morning was the first race of the Southern Cross Country League (SXCL) at Pamber Heath. The course was just over 5 miles, over a field, through woods, along footpaths and a couple of hills along the way. The weather was lovely for running.

I think today, it's fair to say, I will be looking at how events prior to and during a race can affect both mental and physical performance for me.  

Having coeliac disease means I have to have a completely gluten free diet, and this also comes down to the preparation of the food. Eating foods which are contaminated with gluten do affect me both physically and mentally. Sickness is the usual quick symptoms of gluten consumption now. So yesterday afternoon, I ate a cake that I bought,which stated it was gluten free. Sadly, I found out it actually wasn't. As a result, it meant that I didn't eat a decent meal yesterday, and therefore didn't fuel my body adequately prior to a race. I did have breakfast today but clearly it wasn't enough. The mental aspect of gluten consumption are the overwhelming emotions that literally engulf me. I probably cried for most of the race. Had it not been for Lisa, I would have turned back fairly soon after starting the race. She kept me going, and at the end, seeing Jenna and Emma come back and run in with us, really showed how much the running club places support to others. So the thing to take away from this: only eat foods prior to a race that I know I can trust.

Add to the issues of Mother Nature paying a visit too. Enough said.

But I did it. I have another 5 miles in my legs. In two weeks it's the Great South Run. So, taking all the above into consideration, I could have a really good race. 

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Mud mud mud......

.......because tomorrow is the first race of the Southern Cross Country league for this season at Pamber Heath, near Basingstoke. And tomorrow I plan to do it again. 

A year ago I ran this race, and along with two other ladies from the club, we managed to finish with a ladies team. Proud moment. 

So, my trail shoes have been located and are ready to get muddy. 

Being on event number 4 of #fortyb4forty

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Tighter, tighter!!!

One thing that has bugged me recently whilst running, is the feeling of my chest and throat tightening, particularly in the final stages of a run. And the feeling of wanting to cry, makes it feel much worse. And makes the end feel a lot harder than it needs to be, and I can't put in that sprint finish that I used to be able to do. 

A really helpful reply to a status for help on Facebook felt that perhaps I was taking things a little too seriously. And yes, without realising it, maybe I am. I do just need to enjoy running, and use it as a tool to escape the mundanity of life and it's routines, and to use that time for me.

As a teenager I was a swimmer, and completed in galas with the club I was a member of. So, my training, rightly enough, focussed on improving in order to win the races I took part in - which never happened!! And I always see sport as a competitive thing, and it's benefits of getting fit, rather than doing something as a means of having time out for myself. And therefore I don't enjoy it as much as I probably could as I'm stuck in this thought of training to improve to do really well and prove myself - to who exactly?  Who am I trying to impress?? It's only myself really that I need to do this for. The training nights at running club are there for my benefit to improve my ability to run - not an essential thing that I have to take part in a race to prove myself to others. 

I do like taking part in events, but I then get stuck in the thought that wearing by my club shirt I am representing the club, and clearly I must be representing the club, and finishing nearly last is clearly not giving the club a good name. Okay, I need to get that out of my head. I know that whatever position I come in, the club has been represented, and, actually, does anyone really give a jot what position I come in? No, they don't!! I'm just still stuck in this competitive sport thing I have in my head. Being competitive is good, but for me, not at the moment.

I'm slowly starting to believe in my ability to do be able to run. I'm touched by the lovely comments I get that I'm doing really well, and that people are actually proud of me when I finish events. Why can't I be really proud of myself? I'm usually just chuffed that I've made it round a course!!

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Event 3/40 #fortyb4forty

So, like last week, I decided to do a race today at the very last minute. It came up because someone was poorly and couldn't run, and someone else suggested if I wanted to have a go. Why not. It's only 8 miles. Good practice for GSR in three weeks, where I would be running along Southsea promenade anyway. I could do this, couldn't I?

Generally I had a ball today. Wearing my headphones made a huge difference in focussing my mind away from nasty derogatory thoughts, (not that I had many) by focussing on singing (not loudly) familiar words of songs. I didn't run it all. I'm okay with that. I didn't expect to, as it's a huge leap in mileage from recent runs.  But I still came in with a very nice time of 1:38:45.

I belong to an epic running club. Along the way back to the RNLI station, at mile 7, Keith came and joined me (having already finished) and ran with me back to the finish line, where more hedgies were waiting to cheer me in.

I really did enjoy today. I'm looking forward to GSR in three weeks time.

(The medal is pretty cool too)

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Last. Minute

There's nothing like deciding to do a race at the last minute - again!!!!! Pieces of Eight in Southse? 8 flat miles. Good prep for Great South Run which is 3 weeks tomorrow!!!!

Event 2/40 #fortyb4forty

So, I got to Netley Abbey Parkrun this morning and, with the encouragement of the very lovely Vanessa, I ran all the 5k, with a really respectable time of 35.24. It was the course of 5.5 laps around the cricket pitch. Bizarrely, I can cope with that really well mentally, than the course that is 3 laps. Who knows why!!!!