Sunday 30 June 2013

The Thames Path 100

This morning, at 9.59am, I found myself crouched over the laptop, credit card in hand, nervously waiting for entries to open for Centurion Running's 2014 Thames Path 100 mile race. In just a few minutes time though, I'd done it...signed in, entered the details of my qualifying race, paid the fee, and received this email back:

Congratulations, you are now officially entered into the 2014 Thames Path 100. This is a tough event both mentally and physically and as organisers we will do all we can to assist in you making the finish line. We would be delighted to help you with training and preparation. Requests or queries of any nature can be sent and we will come back to you as soon as possible.

For information on other 50 & 100 mile races in the Centurion series please go to

Follow us also on Facebook, twitter and through our blog.

We wish you the best of luck with all of your training and racing.

The Centurion Running Team

I'm number 30. Seems there were lots of other people who were also poised and ready to go dead on 10am!  I posted on Facebook and Twitter, and was astonished to not only find how many  friends have also signed up for next May's race, but also the level of support. I've had offers for crew support and pacers - I'm really touched by that, and am very grateful as the only way I'll be able to get through the distance is with help! But that's something to think about nearer the time...for now, I have to get my ankle better and then start following the training plan that I've created that will hopefully get me fit enough to get through this mammoth, epic distance. I'm in no doubt as to how difficult it'll be to get through those last 50 miles and get a Finishers buckle (never mind a One Day buckle like's in the picture)...but I'm going to give it a damn good go.

Very exciting times!!! :D

Friday 28 June 2013

High-protein snacking

A while ago, I was asked if I'd liked to try a new product that's recently hit the market... a yogurt that's particularly high in protein. 

Now I love yogurts and along with fruit, milk and cereal, I have to have them in the house, so was very happy to try out a new brand. I thought that maybe they'd make a good post-training snack. Although I ate a lot of the delicious High-5 Protein Bars during the 10in10 (one after each marathon) I'm always reluctant to buy them normally as they've got a fair whack of carbs in them as well as the protein. Fine for after a race, but for every day training? Too much. However, we all know how important it is to eat something that's got a good level of protein in it, within 45 mins of finishing training, and I usually go with a glass of milk and a yogurt...a yogurt that has a higher than usual amount of protein but the same number of calories has got to be a good thing! 

So, I said yes to trialling Danio, the new yogurts, made by Danone.

This is the blurb about them:

"A bit about Danio - it is a new super thick and super tasty strained yogurt, high in protein and low in fat.  Available in six flavours. The secret behind Danio’s thick texture is that it is made by a method of straining which uses more milk than standard yogurts and makes it high in protein."

They average about 150kcal per pot with about 12g of protein. 

Unfortunately, the texture they have as a result of the particular process they use to make them wasn't to my taste - they are really thick, and need a good stir before you eat them - but with the nutritional stats behind them, I'm sure a lot of runners would happily have them in their fridge, although I don't think I will.

So, overall opinion - worth giving them a go to see if you like them. And no...I didn't get paid to say that...I just got some yogurts! ;)

Monday 24 June 2013

Taking on Endure 24

I may be struggling with pain, injury, recovery, weight-loss and all of that boring stuff at the moment, but I’ve still got some exciting race news.

Along with fab ultra-runner Emma Sherwood, I’m going to be taking part in the Endure 24 event in June 2014. Emma entered us a team this morning so it’s all official! :D We are team “Em’n’N” – thank you Taff for the name ;)

You can enter Endure24 either as a solo runner, in pairs, like we are, or larger teams of up to 8 people, and everyone sees how far they can get in 24 hours, running loops of 5 miles along what seems to be a really lovely trail course through the woods.

I’ve known about the event since it started last year, and the overwhelming response from everyone who’s taken part, it seems, is that it’s a really great weekend and everyone has loads of fun. Emma and her friends have run it before in a team, and her other half Andy has done it as a solo runner, so I'm very confident that it's going to be awesome as they're so keen to go back! 

No...we're Em'n'N', he's Eminem
This year, there was only one female pair team that entered, who ran 20 laps in total - I'm certain that between us we'll be able to beat that - but how we do in the event overall obviously depends on how many other pairs enter...every year Endure24 is growing in popularity as more people find out about it and there's no way we'll be the only female pair next year. 

Regardless though, I think it's going to be a great event - really fun and relaxed - and it's going to be totally different to anything I've done before and I'm really looking forward to it! 

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Friday 21 June 2013

The return from injury

It’s been a good week in terms of my injury, recovery and getting back to running.

Although most of the swelling and pain had resolved in my leg and ankle, I went for an MRI last week, as Tessa, my physio, wanted to rule out a stress fracture before I started running again and did any permanent damage. Luckily, the MRI report came through this week "all clear" – a little residual swelling in the tendons in my ankle, but nothing to worry about, and no stress fracture, and so along with a prescription for lots of strength work and stretching, Tessa sent me away from our appointment on Wednesday with her blessing to gradually start running again. I was over the moon.

So far I have run twice, 3 miles each time.

Each run was VERY hard, much harder than I thought it would be. I knew I’d be slow, but I felt like I was running through treacle and it felt incredibly unnatural.  Despite that, though, I can’t quite describe how brilliant it was to be able to run again…I could feel my mental health improving as I laced up my trainers to go out!! I really have missed being a runner for this last month (yep, it was 30 days of not running…not that I was counting!) and I think Francis is also relieved that running as he could tell how stir-crazy I was getting!

So, now that I’ve got over the initial euphoria of actually being able to run again, I have to come to terms with the effects of taking a month off.

I have lost a lot of cardio fitness, and I’ve put on a lot of weight, both through lack of exercise and massively over-eating. I’m feeling like it’s going to take me a long time to get back to where I was fitness-wise, to get my eating under control again, and then to lose some weight.

I’ve just been looking through and editing my training plan, and think I have to accept that not only am I going to have to pull out of the three races (a marathon and a 30 miler on one day, and a 52.4miler on another) that I had booked for July, I doubt I’m going to be in a position to run the 100km race that I have scheduled for September. Realistically, I think my first marathon distance might be Berlin. That is a very bitter pill to take – but I don’t want to be injured again and trying to come back too soon will just lead to DNFs which I really want to avoid.  I’ll still be a part of the events, and go along to cheer for everyone like I did at the Kent Roadrunner this year (which was an awesome experience) and maybe marshal at the 100km, but I don’t think I can run them.

So there we go. Now to start getting back. The training plan is written – I’ve got a four mile run scheduled for tonight and a five mile run on Sunday – but it looks very different to the plans I’m used to - the runs are all so much shorter than they’ve been for the last year or so, but that’s what I need. The other thing I have to do is sort out my nutrition and my weight. I’ve been trying to control myself and resolve my over-eating for the last month but have failed miserably. I need some level of accountability because at the moment, my weight is rising on a daily basis, and it’s just going to make getting back to full fitness so much harder if I don’t get this under control.   

Wednesday 12 June 2013

31 races in the last 12 months & I wonder why I'm injured

This is my fourth week of not being able to run. I have an MRI scan scheduled this Friday, and although my leg and ankle are feeling much better than they did, unfortunately my ankle is still constantly painful and I know I'm not ready to run yet.

It is hugely affecting my mood, and the evenings (when I used to go for my run) are particularly hard as I find myself bored and fidgety, unable to settle on anything. I had some advise yesterday on twitter about how to get through this time, from the lovely Sue Albiston, including the suggestion to write about what I've achieved so far.

So....that's what I'm going to do, a quick review of the last 12 months:-

I started June 2012 with a total of 8 marathons to my name, three of which I'd run since the beginning of the year, three in 2011, one in 2010 and one in 2008. I was in good shape, having run my marathon PB of 3:49 at Brighton in April 2012, and I was getting ready to take my running to the next level - to start running ultras!

In July 2012, I ran my first ultra - a 30 mile race - which was also my first Engima event - and followed that up a couple of weeks later with my first 52.4 mile race at Challenge Hub down in Kent, which I finished in 10hrs 41mins. They went incredibly well, and I absolutely loved the experience of both...I knew I was hooked!!

In September, I took part in my first multi-day event, The Toad, where I ran 90 miles over three days along the Thames Path. Again, it was a fantastic event, unlike anything I'd ever done before, and I really enjoyed myself, finished as 4th lady, and in the back of my mind, I knew this was good training for the 10in10 which was fast approaching!

October was a pretty special month - Francis and I went on holiday to Croatia...and came back engaged!! I'd never been so happy, and soon found myself planning the wedding. The running continued though, and October also saw me take part in the inaugural Stort 30 - a great race but with a very small female field as it was a new event, and so I managed to finish as first lady. I was absolutely over the moon.

I ran another couple of marathons in November and December, as well as various other races of shorter distances, until training really started in January for May's Brathay 10in10.

In the 4.5 months, between the beginning of 2013 and the start of the 10in10, I ran a half marathon, a 20 miler, 5 marathons, and a brilliant 45 mile ultra (the first time I'd had to really navigate a route that wasn't well signed, and also had to use a torch as we were running in the dark). I was so proud of myself for finishing that race - I finally felt I could really call myself an ultra runner. I also fitted in getting married and going on honeymoon!!! It was a wonderful, and very busy time :D

Then in May, less than a year after my first ever ultra - I ran 10 marathons in 10 days.

It's funny, writing all that does seem that I have really come a ridiculously long way in 12 months! I don't think I realised.

I've just gone through and added up all of the events I took part in between June 2012 and May 2013: 31 races in the last 12 months, of which 25 were marathons or ultras.  For lots of people I know, that's not actually that unusual, or even that much (I'm friends with a very special group of people!) but comparing it to the 12 months before that, from June 2011 to May 2012, when I ran a total of 16 races of which just 4 were marathons, it's a massive leap.

So, I'm going to make a real effort to remember just how much I've achieved in such a short space of time and to just go with this enforced rest period for as long as I need to.  But you know what, I can't wait to get back to it....there's so much more I want to do.