Aaannnd … RELAAAX!

While I’ve prattled on about the benefits of going hard or going home and any other cliché phrase you can think of, I should point out the benefits of R&R also (provided you’ve put in the work to begin with!)I did tend to push my body to its limits and then be forced into rest due to being in bits, but this has been counterproductive as things such as illness and injury linger and puts you back in regard to your progress.

The body needs the rest to build back up the muscle you’ve torn during those workouts and build itself up stronger. So while it is great making sure you’re putting in 110% it is also great to give the muscles a little reprieve. It is recommended to add REST into your training schedules and that is total rest and not ‘only doing a few sets on the lighter dumbbells’

While I’m on this subject of looking after yourself may I interest you in the benefits of physiotherapy and/or sports massage? Yes? Great!

I gotta say that the injury was a blessing in disguise as having the initial consultation threw up a few issues. My trainers although they look nice were not doing a damn thing for my legs and exacerbated the underlying issue with the ITB causing the injury. They were also not supportive enough for my ankles so had I continued with them, there probably would have been ankle injuries too. I’m not getting any younger round here and I have a few things I have to do this year, don’t you know?!

A good sports massage now and again can also do your muscles the world of good. If you can’t afford those, you can always buy a foam roller. I have one to use in between visits and that is just as awesome – minus the small talk. It is recommended to at least get a consult and be checked over to flag up any issues to avoid repetitive injuries for those problem areas if you have them.

So, are you sitting comfortably yet? No? Get to it, then!

Special mention to Amy, my amazing physiotherapist at the CPSIC.

[If you are looking for a physiotherapist then have a look here for a registered practitioner.]

What’s your Motivation?

What motivates you?

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”– Michael Jordan

What an amazing athlete. When he had achieved his goals, he made new ones to blow the previous ones out of the water.

Those days when you want to stay in bed, pull a sickie, cut your workout by five minutes are not an option.

I do have those moments, not going to lie to you. It is well documented that I wanted to give up after a really crappy run the other week, but with so many people being supportive when I least expect it really helps drive my motivation. Injuring my knee early into training was a test and it’s funny that at that time it encouraged me to get back on track more than a stupid woman with her dog sideswiping me.

I bungee jumped (if you didn’t hear me shouting from the rooftops) mid-December. I named from October 2011 – October 2012 the Year of the Unstoppable. I also have the fact that I am running not only on behalf MS society,  but my sister. I have no excuses to hide behind that would make quitting an option. So no pressure then …

For me this is why I do what I do when many of you are tucked up in bed. Those twenty extra stomach crunches, that extra five minutes out on the road. The circuit training where I’m face first in mud in a south London park early on Saturday morning .. and Rory our PT is a BEAST if he sees you standing still.

If you find YOUR reason for getting up an hour early in the morning, getting off the bus a couple of stops early, a yard further on that run or refusing that second bit of cake (don’t worry one *small* slice is okay) then remind yourself of that. That’s what gets you further on in your goals in order to smash them and start again like Mike. If your goal is to start training then getting up and dressed ready to start it is one thing off that to-do list already, congratulations! Now go out there ..

And don’t quit. There is no finish line.

I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” – Michael Jordan.


That awkward moment when life kicks you in the nuts ..

I’m human. Yes, big surprise to most of you.

But on a serious note, I have struggled most of the first half of last year trying to get past thoughts of ‘I can’t do this’ and quite frankly being an idiot. I then set myself this goal of running in two events and suddenly things became much easier. Despite a huge setback with my ITB injury, I soldiered through with physio, weights, strength work and an ab challenge until I was fit enough to get back out on the road and grab some miles.

So when I had quite frankly the worst run to date on the 27th December, all this confidence and positivity I built up came crashing back down on my head and I wanted to throw it all in for the comfort of my duvet and chocolate chip shortbread biccies.

How the hell could I run a marathon if I couldn’t run a few measly miles?! What an idiot …

The run was a catalogue of errors – I was tripped up by a dog, the woman waited until I was pretty much a foot away from her before letting her excited dog off the leash and the dog trying to get out of my way while running off into the park, sideswiped me. The stupid cow was then trying to justify her actions and mumbled a feeble apology after I reminded her that she saw me running toward her and she only let the dog go once I was pretty much up in her grill. I mean, really?!

I carried on with the run, frightened that I had hurt something so then couldn’t concentrate on anything, my chest already full of cold then decided it would tighten (in hindsight the adrenaline had worn off) and before I knew it with only a couple of miles into the run I was walking home. I got in, threw myself of the floor, sent some pity party tweets, turned my phone off and cried like a baby. There was some snot involved.

When I switched my back on after an hour of feeling sorry for myself, the replies on Twitter and a massive barrage of texts I received was a little overwhelming but well received. It’s funny how although you tweet and there aren’t always replies in response, the moment you have an off day the reaction on and offline is amazing. The abuse at what will happen to you if you quit is also very amusing.

The funny thing is I took a day off and two days after Doggate, I ran my furthest distance thus far AND got in my quickest 5km within that. There’s truth to that cliche “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

So when life kicks you in the nuts, take a day off to dust yourself off and get back in the game and kick it right back – and a little harder. As you never know, you may just come back a little bit stronger and faster.

I would like to thank those little rays of light that always seem to be there at the right moment. And a special mention to my running partner Redfella who’s awesomeness is relentless and an inspiration to me. x

Putting my money where my mouth is (or should that be abs?)

As you’re probably well aware of by now I have been concentrating on getting stronger while I rest my knee after an injury. The challenge is over now but I am carrying it on as part of my strength work while I train for these marathons.

Melissa asked if a few of the challengers would document their progression by shooting a video, which I agreed to. Here is is below, and I know my technique needs (a lot of) work, but hey, I’m not perfect … yet! Video quality isn’t the best, bite me!

For more information on the next twelve months have a look at my 2012: Year of the Unstoppable page and donate if you can! x

Rolling in the deep

So following the post on the injury I picked up, thought I would let you know I’m not sitting here stuffing my face with chocolate while watching the TV resting on my laurels. (This is just a fantasy at the moment, I will be doing lots of this come the 28th May 2012 post Edinburgh Marathon and trust me you will ALL know about it .. I will probably post a blog including a photo too!)

I have indeed been resting the knee, but my 30 Day Ab Challenge has been going relatively well. But following my initial consult with the physiotherapist at Crystal Palace Sports Injury Clinic, I have added rolling to my repertoire.

Just a quick run down to the injury istelf first and then I’ll let you know what rolling is.

I have strained the Iliotibial Band where it joins the knee cap (see diagram below) which turns out after speaking with Amy my physiotherapist and the usual ‘let me check this out on Google’ thing is a common runners injury.

I was quite happy to hear this. Not the injury mind you, but the fact that I am classed as a runner enough now that I picked up that type of injury. Sad, I know! It is fully repairable and with rolling plus a couple of visits I should be running faster and stronger very soon. Hurrah!

Now onto ‘rolling’ – I have many songs and phrases that come to mind now but I won’t bore you with them. After having a go in my session and remembering Melissa’s recommendation on the apparatus, I rapidly purchased a foam roller (below) which was under £15 for a large one and have been working on my ITB’s (sides of the thighs,) quads, hamstrings and calves.

Am already noticing that the extreme tightness in my quads is getting better and my right calf is feeling a lot less stiff already so although this injury has set me back running-wise, in the long run (pun intended) my overall maintenance will be much better. Hurrah again! I highly recommend this if you’re a runner, need help with troublesome muscles or as a cheaper but just as effective replacement for a sports massage (Amy even said so herself..)

Thanks to the CPSIC for their help. For some foam rolling exercises have a look here.


One step forward .. six jumps back

So I have been really pleased with my progress recently and have felt so confident that I am able to get the marathons under my belt. I have had a lot of support from family, friends, my training partner Darren and there has been a warm response from work with colleagues and all sorts. Overwhelming but in a good way.

But Sunday came and disaster struck. I twisted my knee ever so slightly, but with lots of rest when I can, ice and elevation it isn’t getting better.



So I have booked an appointment at the nearby Sports Injury Clinic to get them to help with getting fighting fit, strengthening the knee and back to running in no time. They are amazing and rather than wait for a referral and/or for the knee to get better I would prefer to go sooner rather than later and to be fair it hasn’t been long but I am really itching to get back out there and clocking up those miles in my legs. In the meantime I have been getting on with the 30 Day Ab Challenge and have been pushing myself there with extra workouts, focusing my frustration of not being able to run on my abdominal muscles. [Insert Sparta style grunt here.]

I really am a glutton for punishment, eh?