I know I'm not the only one who has absolutely BRILLIANT ideas (that may or may have been conceived when drinking wine), that shortly afterwards, when put into practice, seem like absolutely TERRIBLE ideas!
This was certainly where my mind was going recently 18 miles into my long slow run. At about that point my back was hurting, my right calf was groaning, my left ankle was niggling, and my eyes were stinging from the hail that was repeatedly attempting to hammer its way through my corneas. Why on EARTH was I putting myself through this? It was a Saturday morning for goodness sake! I could easily have been at home, still in my pjs, drinking tea. Or if I was feeling enthusiastic, I could have been out having a coffee with a friend. OR, and this is REALLY pushing the boat out, I could have having a leisurely mooch with the dogs over the plains and merrily chatting away to myself. Although the hail combined with my love of my pjs makes only one of these scenarios actually likely. My musings were pointless as I wasn't doing any of those. I was in fact outside in the hail looking particularly attractive in my hot pink compression socks, yellow reflective jacket, purple running tights & rainbow striped beanie. Nobody was going to miss me huffing, puffing, and gently swearing along the road.
With less than 3 weeks until my first Ultra Marathon I knew it had to be done. Time on my feet is the only way that I have a hope of getting round 33 miles without needing to crawl straight into an ambulance at the end! To be fair though, I feel this way about most forms of exercise that I participate in.
Saying it like that makes it seems as though I am a massively sporty person. This is in fact not the case. It used to be but these days money, time, energy and just general enthusiasm are all rather restrictive. It seems strange but when you run...you can't actually JUST run. You need to compliment it with other forms of exercise...of training...or you are just asking for injury. So along with my training plan for runs that tell me how long to run for and what pace to run at, I have included workouts to help strengthen my core, to strengthen my arms, legs and particularly for me...ankles! As my general fitness and flexibility improves I am finding that the running is becoming easier, recovery is happening faster, and that can only be a good thing when after a run, I still need to take care of my 3 minions and 2 crazy hounds (hubby can look after himself...just about).
So when I was organising my most recent training plan, I sat and looked at the MyFitZone plank challenge. And then I sat and looked some more. And then for a bit longer. I don't enjoy planks. They are my second least favourite things to do. Burpees being number one! I kept coming back to it though so ultimately decided that it was probably a good thing to give a go. I'm currently on Day 13. It's going well! I'm seeing a difference certainly, granted I still don't LIKE planks, and I'm never going to love them...but I know I'll love what they will enable me to do! The MyFlexandStretchZone is also something that has made it into my training plan. Flexibility is sooooo important! These workouts though, I don't dread doing. It breaks up my week and means that even on my running 'rest' days I still do 'something' and in my panicked state about the upcoming race, this certainly helps. On the days of a big workout or a long run, my other dread comes along. My best friend and my worst enemy. The Darth Vader to my Luke Skywalker. My all year round Elf on the Shelf...
The Foam Roller of Doom! I hate that thing. I hate it with a passion I didn't know I had. It causes me pain. It causes me to make noises that I didn't even make when I was in labour! And yet...I love it just as much. I can be stumbling along like someone who has been bare back riding for 2 days solid and just a few exercises on that horrible thing...well, I'm not exactly doing back flips but I'm certainly moving a lot faster than I had been! It baffles me how something so light and innocent looking can cause so much distress! But there's no denying it is a miracle worker. I did my 21 miles, I shuffled my way in through the door, made some rather obscene noises on my way up the stairs, had my Epsom salt bath and then after I'd eaten my body weight in doughnuts, I faced the roller. And it was horrible. As I knew it would be. And then I felt GREAT! As I knew I would :)
So despite knowing it's going to hurt like something that hurts A LOT, and despite knowing I'm going to have to face the dreaded roller of doom, and it's probably going to rain, and at some point I'm going to have to pull on my big girl pants and go pee in a bush...I've plotted my 26 mile route for this weekend. Today I have a 'leisurely' mere 12 miles to conquer. It'll be worth it in the end. That's what I keep telling myself anyway. Apparently, you're body doesn't hurt any extra after 26 miles, we shall see.
My target for this year was 2 Ultras, 2 Marathons & an OCR. That's changed a little bit. Now I'm going BIG! I'm considering an additional Ultra 100km, I'll see how I feel after the 33 miles before I sign up to that one! I've also set the target of 2017km in 2017. I'm raising money for two charities that are very close to my heart, for two of my big inspirations; firstly, my mum. I'm raising for Alzheimer's Society who have been a great help to many families and sufferers of this horrible illness. My mum was diagnosed last year at the age of 63, which is no age at all these days. And secondly, for my special little buddy Lisi, I'm supporting AHCUK who are a charity that are looking for a cure for the condition that affects Lisi's big brother. I'm on track. I've done 316km so far. So when I'm cold, tired, achy and having a good ole grumble to myself about making decisions after a glass of wine, I have that to think of. That, and how my 6-year-old proudly tells everyone that her mummy is a runner!
Now that my training plan is final, that race day #1 is fast approaching, that my cross training seems on track...all that's left to do is pull on those big girl pants and lace up my trainers. And maybe think about my after run fuelling...as yummy as doughnuts are, I'm not entirely convinced that stuffing 5 of them in my face whilst in the bath is 'quite' the thing to do ;)
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