Running for two

Are you still running?

Is it safe?

Are you sure?

Several times a week, this happens.

Running is fine. CrossFit is fine. Depending on your specific circumstances, almost everything is absolutely fine.

As I’m lucky enough to be healthy, I wanted to keep up my race commitments this year as much as I could. Mostly because entry fees are steep, & I’ve already lost out on two race entries in the last 12 months due to circumstances beyond my control. So I’ve still been completing races (but not racing) 😀

Edinburgh Marathon doesn’t really count because it was so early in the first trimester, but I am slightly pleased to know that my breathlessness, perceived effort & generally feeling ‘off’ was probably due to making a human from scratch rather than not training well enough. I look forward to telling my offspring that I ran a marathon with them when they were an embryo.

Run The Blades was already entered, & was never going to be a pb effort for the distance even if I was at full fitness: a hilly trail race on a midsummer Friday evening has enough factors making it difficult . Never at my best during evening races, it’s tough underfoot, has a lot of narrow sections and a selection of steep & long hills. I stayed very steady and kept an eye on my heart rate, dropping the speed if it got too high. Which it did, but I am sure a one off is fine. I am sure that hill is more than 30m elevation.

Great North Run was unexpectedly hot & as noted in the debrief, probably a bit too far. Had it not been a race I would have called it a day at 10 miles. The evening & the next day was quite like post-marathon stiffness, which worried me a bit, but with proper rest and stretching, I was back at the gym a few days later.

So far, running’s been consistently ok. Perceived effort is difficult to manage, mostly because working harder for a slower pace is messing with my brain a bit. I thought I would get frustrated with going slower – parkrun is the worst, as all my local ones are 3-4 laps and I am getting overtaken a lot – but it’s for the right reasons. In the couple of weeks when I felt very tired and nauseous, gentle running or training in the gym made me feel better, which was a great help once I’d actually managed to get out the door. Iced water also really helped, as my sense of smell was very heightened & the chemical scent of room temperature tap water was very unappealing.

My last race this year will be the Great Scottish Run 10km, tomorrow. It’s a race I’ve done every year since I started running properly, except 2018 when I failed to start due to not feeling well on race day, and I missed it a lot. Things can change on a weekly basis in terms of how I feel and what I can achieve, but for now it seems like a good way to end the season: seven races, over half of them pregnant. Back in December, when I was planning my marathons & everything else around them, I had no idea it would end up like this. But I’m grateful for every day I feel able to exercise, & much stronger & happier for doing so.

Week 10

Firstly, I can’t believe I am ten weeks into marathon training on a vastly different plan from any of the other times & still feeling good with it. I have increased my weekly running mileage by 200% since December, & am averaging about 50 miles a month more than the last training programme. Ridiculous amounts of running, & I am naturally rather lazy so I was expecting this to be a lot worse. It isn’t. I feel good.

Secondly, this has been another peak week so I am tired, a bit achy & eating everything. Second lunch happens most days at about 3:30pm. I am physically tired but struggling to sleep well. The first km of every run is not fun at all. I am down to 8 normal-looking toenails. It’s a good job I’m happy with my progress…

Monday: strength & bike time, and I enjoyed it. Gym’s still busy, but I am lucky enough to work flexibly so I can usually mix up when I go.

Nobody likes the baby 10kg bar except me

I have dropped the weight right down on all my lifts, so the strength sessions are just about maintenance right now. Getting good advice from my coach, not stressing my legs out too much, & keeping up shoulder, back & core strength is key. The longer distances are sometimes causing fatigue & affecting my posture & form. I don’t want to be injured so I need to stay strong.

Tuesday: 5 miles of speedwork. The speedy parts were 5 reps of a 1km threshold run. Couple of minutes gentle jogging in between, & slightly over 1km warm up and cool down. It felt good, but I still had achy hips from Sunday’s long run & speedwork + treadmill did not help.

Wednesday: early start, so did 8 miles easy after work again. It rained a bit, and my Garmin did not record properly & that made me sad.

A bath made it better

Thursday: 6 miles with GFR. Celebrating International Women’s Day with an all-female Jog Leader collection & a run round points of historical feminist interest. There was a suffragette altercation at the Kibble Palace in January 1914, so my group went there for a look & a think.

Purple, white and green (mostly) – celebrating International Women’s Day
Women supporting women

Managed a bit of fartlek-style speedwork during the run, which was good enough for a chilly Thursday.

Friday: rest day & very ready for it. Mexican food & binge-watching The Good Place, living my best life. I had been forgetting to stretch and foam roll all week, but you can do that whilst watching tv which is awesome.

Saturday: 8 miles of parkrun sandwich. Pleased that an easy parkrun is now 28-ish minutes, because a few years ago that was an all-out effort or unachievable.

Sunday: long runs do get boring, so taking part in the Balloch to Clydebank half marathon offered a bit of a competitive edge to a route that I love running but don’t always manage, because it can be quite isolated in parts. Medal & a new tech top is a nice bonus and I was very happy with a 2 hour ish time, because the weather was awful and slush underfoot made it slippery. I had several slow miles on the more exposed footpaths where I was terrified of skidding & knackering a hamstring. Big credit to Dunbartonshire AAA for not cancelling the race, even though several folk did take up their offer of getting bussed back to Clydebank…

I hate finish line pictures

The traditional chips on the chip boat at the end would have been AMAZING, but I had to clock 19 miles today so I ran off into the distance with my new medal. The weather was hideous. After a few days of spring, winter has come screaming back and it was not nice at all. Snow, sleet, hail and rain are all quite different forms of precipitation when they’re hitting you directly in the face.

It wasn’t actually that cold, even though I wore shorts, but the last 4km or so was just torrential rain that turned to hail. It was so, so miserable.

Never been more grateful to be out of the damn rain

Jelly babies & political podcasts were alright, but running into a friend doing their long run the opposite way & getting a hug & some inspiring words helped a lot.

support & kind words mean so much

Total miles: 47

Nutrition: adequate. Highlights being pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, a very beige-carb buffet at a meeting on Wednesday, and chicken pesto pasta on Saturday night.

Bagels are wonderful. Carbs are magic. Help me.

Feeling: tired but good. Happy with the increased speedwork, keeping the easy runs very easy to ensure I was fit for the long run on Sunday.

Double-digit miles in the sleet is not great and there has been chafing. The Brooks Juno is generally the best bra for longer runs – Shock Absorber seems to sit oddly on my ribs sometimes & it affects my breathing – but the back clasps can rub, & it is quite sore right now in the very middle of my back where I can’t reach to put sudocrem on.

Also my shoes and my feet are potentially a bit fucked after the weather on Sunday – I will give them a few days to dry off, and make a decision later.

Newspaper trick usually works

Trusting in the plan, next week is another mileage drop, with a shortened long run and easy midweek run. The overall mileage is still higher than my last training plan so I am just believing in it & hoping the speedwork will prove to be the key. As the miles go down next week, I’m going to really push the speedwork sessions to get the most benefit. An extra strength session will fit in well too with reduced mileage.

Tired but happy