Friday, 28 April 2017

If you love fellrunning then you'll love this book

There is No Map in Hell - Steve Birkinshaw

Thursday 4th May is the official publication date of the much anticipated book by fell and ultra-running legend Steve Birkinshaw. To help promote the release of There is no Map in Hell I will be one of a number of runner-bloggers participating in a blog tour with each of the bloggers providing some exclusive content and images from the book. It is an honour to be taking part in the tour as Steve is a legend of the sport and I'm completely in awe of his super-human achievements.  His record-breaking Wainwrights round captured the attention of the fell-running and ultra-running communities back in 2014, and the achievement was so great that even beyond our relatively small sporting community people were glued to social media and local media following his progress during that history-making week.

It's a fantastic book so go and pre-order it here now!

Monday, 3 April 2017

Run - commute - sweat.

Today I did my first even run commute. It was a bit of an experiment really. I wanted to see if it would make an effective training option for me.  Until now run-commuting has not been possible due to my children/work/life situation. A change of circumstances means I can now explore this as an option.  We all have busy lives and trying to fit in our training can be a real challenge.  As a busy working mum of two small children, my running has always had to fit around my children and my work.  And there's been many times when running has to be forgotten about because naturally the other two take priority.

I often find myself running out of hours in the day and wonder how others manage to cram it all in.  I see others running to work or running at lunchtime or running super-early in the morning, or super-late at night and saying that's the only way they can fit it in.  But what if those options are possible for you?  What if you don't really take lunch breaks or you can't run early in the morning as you need to get your kids ready (and to) school because you're the only parent available, or you can't run late at night as you can't get childcare?  Everyone faces different challenges and has to find their own way to fit training into their life.  As the very inspirational Sally McRae says you have to find a way to fit it into your life, work out what you can sacrifice to fit the running in - and there will be times in your life when it simply isn't possible, and that's okay too. We can't all be super-human, and we shouldn't beat ourselves up, but if you can make those sacrifices, and get the training done, you will likely reap the rewards.

So, I had exactly 40 minutes between child duties and work duties this morning. So I was straight into a tempo run (no warm up - ouch). It was tough.  And it was sweaty, despite wearing a vest and shorts!  And in those same (still) sweaty shorts and vest I had 30 minutes between work and child duties this afternoon - making it with just 2 minutes to spare.

Here's what I learned:

  • I sweat a lot when running, and even more so in an office environment straight after running.  I was still mopping myself up an hour after finishing! There are no showers at my work and when you are required to present yourself in a professional manner, the sweaty betty look does not really go down too well. Plus it made me feel quite squirmy and rather unhygienic to be honest.
  • With a tight time-scale, both runs are done as tempo runs without any warm up.  Not really the best way to do a tempo and it adds to the risk of injury (and I've had enough of those!).
  • I would need to keep dry shampoo, baby wipes and deodorant, and spare shoes, and spare clothes and more at work as I simply cannot fit it all into my bag.
  • I need to think about what the weather will be like for the return leg and not just what the weather is in the morning.  I was really cold on my run home as it was no longer the beautiful sunny day I had experienced this morning. And if it's pouring down in the morning, how long will it take my hair to dry out?
  • There's a lot of time-pressure, a lot of feeling yucky at work, and  lot of effort for less than 4 miles of running.  Not really sure it was worth it for me.
  • Running to work and then sitting on a office chair for 8 hours does my back injury absolutely no favours. Bl**dy painful!
  • A tub of salad is not the easiest thing to cram into a running pack. 

So, whilst the run-commute could now provide now me with an option for some extra miles on the road, it will not be my first port of call for training. It's handy to have this extra option available though, especially if I am unable to do one of my other planned runs.  It's all about fitting in what you can, where you can, and making your training work within your own life situation.  Chances are you will have to make sacrifices but hopefully it will all be worth it.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

10 week countdown - injury update

The 10 week countdown has begun and I have had 1 week of running (inconsistently).

30 second round-up: I'm glad to have come through the past through weeks with some positive outcomes. Lots of doctors trips and hospital trips and visits to the physiotherapist.  My back injury has made some improvement but I'm still in pain - it's an ongoing process with lots of work to do to find a new normal for me.  There has been a lot of reflection and re-evaluation during this time. With 10 weeks until the SDW100 it is very clear that I won't be able to race it.  This is extremely disappointing for me as it is a bucket-list race (not that I really do bucket lists).

I entered the SDW100 for a number of reasons:
  • UTMB points
  • Western States qualification
  • it's a Centurion race and I've always wanted to run one of their races as I've heard such good things about them.
  • to explore an area I have never been to with what looks like stunning scenery.
  • I wanted to do a race where nobody would know me and I would know nobody and it would be a little adventure with nobody to measure myself against (or JUDGE myself against!)
  • I wanted to run a more runnable 100 miler and get a 'good' time/result.
So, the face that I have done basically no training whatsoever with 10 weeks to go and I'm struggling with this ongoing injury means this will definitely NOT be a runnable 100 miler and I certainly not get a good time - in fact it will be a race against the cut-offs (again *sad face*). I WILL be disappointed with my result because it won't be that 'fast' result I have been wanting to target.

It will not be a solo adventure far away with nobody to compare myself to (or judge myself against, and be disappointed once again with my rubbish result).  Whilst I am going to the race by myself and will NOT have a support crew or pacer-runners, there will be others there I know and whilst I knew there would be this possibility with Centurion races being so popular, I had secretly and I suppose selfishly hoped that this would be my race for the year. It kind of takes away from the 'adventure' aspect for me. I think if I want to be sure of having my own little race then I need to pick something more obscure next time! Or learn to stop judging myself compared to everyone else because there will never be a positive outcome and inevitably I am setting myself up for a fall.

I will be exploring the area and hopefully seeing some scenery later this month when I do a few short recce runs on the route as part of a wee break from work. 

After I have done the recce runs I will decide whether or not I am going to run the race or pull out (and get some return on my entry fee).  The ONLY reasons I will be running would be for the UTMB points and Western States qualification. So it will be a case of survival within the time needed to achieve those. And I will only go if I think I can survive without doing any major damage to my back.
I have bigger, much BIGGER events in the pipeline that I need to make sure I am as strong as possible for and there is no point breaking myself even further.

So, not quite 30 sections but that just about sums up the situation and my intentions.