Red Wine Runner

A Scottish Running Blog

Tag: life (page 1 of 2)

Online Nutrition Programmes – I Tried One And I Hated It

Over the last six years, RedWineRunner has tracked many aspects of my journey towards becoming a runner (and my recent apparent journey away from it), but one thing I have rarely touched upon is my diet. Some bloggers make what they eat a huge focus of their content, but I’ve never really felt like this was something which I wanted to share with my readers. What you eat is very personal, and what you eat when you’re training for multiple ultramarathons becomes in turns random, horrifying, and very specific to the individual. To that end, I never really wanted to get into that discussion in a public forum and inadvertently encourage even more of the uninvited scrutiny which sometimes landed in my inbox regarding my training. Today however, I’ve written a post about some diet and weight stuff which is a real change from the norm. It’s a bit of an essay, but I’ll try and add in some gifs to lighten the mood from time to time. Read on for a bit of back story, and my experiences in using an online nutrition programme.

High Mileage = Hungry

Over the last few years I’ve benefited from a useful side-effect of consistent high mileage, which was that I never had to worry about my weight. I know I could have spent a lot more of my time paying greater attention to what I was fueling my miles with, but in the end it didn’t seem to matter as my running improved continuously and my body stayed the same happy size. Delving into sports nutrition is a complex science and ultimately, a life choice. As far as I see it, if you want to reap the full benefit from the changes you make, you can’t really go half in. Of course there are aspects of balance, but when I do something I tend to want to completely immerse myself in it. In recent years that lifestyle has been ‘ultramarathon dustbin’: What’s that? You can’t outrun a bad diet? Aye ok pal; watch me.

What happened next of course has sold a lot of books – I stopped most of the running but didn’t stop the eating, and consequently got a bit fat. Then I decided I didn’t want to be fat any more, so began looking for a solution.

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The slightly longer story is of course that I trained for and completed my 2015 goal race, then quite rightly took a period of recovery which neatly aligned with the last three months of my MSc. I was at home alone writing up my thesis, submitted it and then went travelling for a bit. Hoorah! Holiday time! Then I came back to earth with a bump and stayed crumpled into the ground during the entire 8 months I was unemployed, whilst living my isolated life in a small village. You’d have thought with all that time on my hands I would have been taking advantage of the opportunity to get in the shape on my life and become a full-time fitness blogger or something, but that’s not quite how long term unemployment works for most people, I’m afraid. I was lonely and very sad, often not coming into contact with anyone other than Kynon for days at a time. Exercise only helps to lighten the mood if you’re capable of actually getting out of bed in the first place, you see…

Chapter Two of the tale saw me move to Edinburgh in June for a job (yay!) without Kynon (boo) and try and figure out a new peripatetic lifestyle between Edinburgh during the week and Stonehaven at the weekends, a two and a half hour train journey with my husband and cat stuck at the wrong end of it (boooo). Despite walking a 6 mile round-trip to work most days and doing a couple of runs a week, there was no magic return to svelte fitness. Whilst this was a definite step in the right direction, oddly it was no replacement for my previous consistent high mileage routine. The only real consistencies seen to this day are consistently high cortisol levels and consistently high alcohol and calorie consumption at the weekends – easily enough problems to de-rail the healthiest of Monday-Thursdays.

Towards the end of the summer I also found myself in the snowballing situation of:

I ran less so I got larger <=> being larger makes it difficult and unenjoyable to run, so I run less <=> because I run less I stay larger <=> LARGE. 

I also had one of those lightbulb moments when I was looking at my holiday pictures, where I saw a picture of me taken from behind unawares and didn’t actually recognise the back side of myself because I was so huge. That was good; it was a classic un-ignoreable sign that I was really ready to make some changes to my diet because that was the only option I had left to alter the above cycle into:

I eat sensibly to become  lighter <=> being lighter makes it easier to run <=> I run more and l’m lighter and faster <=> happy

SPOILER ALERT: It’s nearly December, I’m still huge, and I’ve only ran 12 miles in November.

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Let’s get to the point, shall we?

I decided I needed some guidance with my eating and was willing to pay for it. I knew what worked for me before because I never needed to think about eating and I’d never eaten specifically for long-term weight-loss before. I figured I had become desperate enough to place a monetary value on this, so paid £28 to join an Online Nutrition Programme which I had heard others talking about positively online.

There are obviously a lot of snake oil salesmen out there on the internet but this company and their ethos really seemed to suit me – the sample plan available to view looked exciting and satisfying, and there were options to sub out meals if life got in the way of the plan. A specifically vegetarian plan was available and all meals were supplied with recipes a week in advance. They are health-focused and advocate lifestyle change that you can stick with rather than drastic alterations and I liked their focus on fat loss over weight. At £28 for four weeks it seemed a reasonable starter investment, and I decided that even if I didn’t want to stick with a monthly £28 subscription,  I would have a month’s worth of meals for reference.

Sounds great, right? So what on earth went wrong?

1. It was nowhere near as bespoke as I expected

After completing an extensive questionnaire upon signing up, where I detailed my lifestyle and goals, I was excited for my first weekly plan to arrive in my inbox. I was disappointed to see that it was clearly a generic plan designed for a non-active person with exercise tips such as ‘Why not try jogging today?’. I am also quite aware that I am no nutritionist, but the portioning was seemingly tiny for a reasonably active person. There was also a ban on snacks – not eating between my teeny lunch at 1pm and getting in from running at 8pm seemed unrealistic and challenging. I logged back into my account to send an email to query this, and saw that all my information had been wiped from the questionnaire apart from the first lines of every box. Aha! A technical error! They just didn’t know about my lifestyle and goals…!

Well, not quite. Something that isn’t mentioned on the website is that the basic monthly plan is not suitable for runners or people who are already active – of course, this could all be fixed for me if I signed up for the next level up, which was the same price weekly as I paid for my month. The website error was never addressed. I started to feel pretty stupid for signing up.

2. Many of the choices just didn’t make sense to me

When I asked if it would be ok to have my usual pre-run snack – such as a handful of almonds or dried apricots, or a banana, or some oatcakes with peanut butter; a sugar-filled processed cereal bar was suggested instead. You could have up to four cups of tea with one sugar a day, but no strong coffee. The bare bones of one meal was stated to be “No carbs, beans, or pulses”, but then the suggested recipe was for a bean-based soup – I’m guessing this was a grammatical error, but that is not helpful information on a plan that I am paying for.

3. I didn’t like the extra advice packed up with the plan

There was a half A4 of advice and little tips and tricks for mind-setting each week, but some of the advice clashed hugely with my general approach to a happy life. A lot of it was quite sensible, but some pearls of wisdom were seriously WTF. Is falling foul of this why I’ve put on weight? I don’t know, but if losing weight means I need to think in these ways, then I think I’d rather be fat and happy:  If you can’t overcome a craving, have it instead of a meal or offset it with exercise <- I feel this is enabling a really unhealthy relationship with food. Eat your dinner on a side plate to make it look bigger <- Sorry, but I don’t want to be an orthorexic Healthy Living Bloggers/Instagrammer… Empty your house of all food that isn’t on your plan at the start  <- No. I refuse to waste food when others go hungry. Become a person who doesn’t think about food in between meals and treat food only as fuel for the body <- This would give me a very sad life.

There was also a Facebook group which I just couldn’t get on board with. I could see that a lot of people gained a lot of support and advice from it, but I didn’t enjoy reading the weekly weigh-in threads and the constant navel-gazing (sometimes literally). I also did not enjoy reading people slagging off their friends and family’s choices (no matter how daft) behind the door of the closed group, or people sharing tweets or articles which did not agree with the programme and encouraging dog-piling. I just found it all to be the kind of dialogue which I really don’t want to be a part of; that is not how I build myself up.

4. In the end, my life is so messed up right now that it just wasn’t sustainable

I probably could have made it work, even if I did ignore all the odd advice and daft online conversation, the meal ideas and recipes themselves were good and I think if I doubled some of the portions on run/gym days and added healthy snacks, then it would lay a good foundation. However, here are some more excuses:
– I just didn’t have the time or energy to cook different meals each night – the way I get around this now I live and cook like a single person again, is to make huge pots of healthy food and freeze portions for quick, healthy meals I don’t have to think about.
I’m lodging in someone else’s house  during the week and I have to fit my cooking around their cooking too, as well as cope without my own cooking implements and not make a mess.
I found it very expensive – my weekly food costs doubled when I bought everything for the plan, which is not something I could easily absorb. Batch cooking works for more than one reason for me – I can make 6 portions of lentil dhal for about £2.50. That would get me two avocados, or one bottle of unhomogenised milk for my weekly meal plan and that’s it. The plan claimed to save money by planning ahead, but maybe these people have never been truly broke.
– I found I wasted food – Living between two houses meant I was left with lots of unused ingredients in the fridge over the weekend when I would be in Stonehaven. Taking a half full litre carton of Greek yogurt and a half empty bottle of your fancy milk along with a selection of half used vegetables in a carrier bag on a packed rush hour train is never going to end well. The alternative is to buy smaller packets which are less economical, buy more stuff in Stonehaven (which won’t get finished), or just leave it in the fridge until Monday and cross my fingers.

So how do I wrap this up?

The long and short of it was in the TL;dr at the top – it’s the end of November and my jeans are still tight and I’m still bigger and slower that I would like. I thought that by handing control over my diet to someone else, it would take the stress out of healthy weightloss, but it turned out the opposite was true. I don’t think diet plans are for me right now, and I can’t afford the cost of a one-on-one nutritionist. I’ll do my best to stick with what I know, and just keep clinging on to hope of improvement. The key areas I need to fix are keeping my snacks whole foods and unsugary, not going wild on food at the weekend, and trying to cut back on the booze. With Christmas coming up, this will be a hoot!

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However, I do feel I am making progress somewhere. I’ve joined a gym again and am on week three of consistent training which is a baby step, but one step further than I’ve gone for some time. It is as clear to me as it will be is to those that can read between the lines here, that there are wider issues affecting the trajectory of straight-forward progress, but as long as I keep trying again every time I fail, then I’m not actually failing. I’ll get there.

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Have you ever tried an online nutrition plan?

Will you attempt to balance healthy living with the festive season, or enjoy a couple of weeks of indulgence?

Past, Present, and Future

Where I’ve Been

  • I ran the Speyside Way Ultra at the end of August and I finished in 7th Senior Female in 7hr 14m 6s. It was really, really hot, and I was kind of under-trained. It should not have been as hard as it was, but I was really pleased with how I paced it. I had a major wobble at about 25 miles, but then I got angry at myself and passed around 20 people in the last 10 miles. Still got it.

speyside way ultra 2016

  • I went to Ibiza for two weeks with Kynon. I sat on a beach and read for two weeks straight which was magnificent. We went to see Faithless one night which was the most expensive fun I’ve ever had; £36 for two rum and cokes in the club was ludicrous, but £30 for two cocktails at Cafe Del Mar earlier on as the sun went down was worth every penny.

cafe del mar

  • I did some stat crunching the other day and I realised I’ve now ran 23 marathons or ultramarathons, and 93 races in total. This blows my mind a little. I don’t feel like I’ve ever run over 10k right now.

Where I am

  • I’m still failing hard  every time I try and get back into training consistently. My peripatetic lifestyle between Edinburgh and Stonehaven throws constant challenges at me, and to a certain extent, I’ve let myself become a victim of my own circumstances. It is a seemingly endless battle which saps a lot of my strength.
  • I’ve only ran 731 miles this year. I have no races booked and this is a huge contributer to my current feelings of a loss of sense of self. Running used to be a huge part of my life, and now it’s just…not.
  • I’ve got kind of…fat. My body shape has changed a lot since I basically stopped being a runner, and it’s pretty distressing. A lot of my clothes aren’t fitting comfortably, including my active wear, and running feels different when you’re heavier. Things rub, shake, and jiggle, and it feels like you’re swimming through treacle. I’m trying to train using someone else’s body.
  • I get to live with this beast during the week though – have a picture of Central Scotland’s fluffiest cat to break up the self loathing a bit:

gracie

  • I still love my new job, and embrace the challenges it offers. They’ve recently introduced a flexible working policy, which has allowed me to start running at lunchtime. This works well for me, because when I get home, I am devoid of energy or motivation to do anything other than flop…like tonight. I work within a mile of this lovely canal though:

union-canal

  • I still haven’t joined a running club. I know I should, but I’m actually questioning whether I’m fit enough to survive a training session at the moment. I miss running with other people. I try and run with my friends in Stonehaven when I’m up at the weekends, but I always end up drinking too much to be out running early with them, or indeed, at all. Since Kynon and I only see each other at the weekends and I only see Stonehaven every other week, the pressure to burn brighter for shorter is real. Work hard, party hard…but where has train hard gone?

Where I’m Going

  • I know where I’m not going – I’ve received rejections from both the Tokyo and London Marathon ballots, so that clears up some decisions about Spring 2017. Kynon and I are going to enter the Chicago ballot as well when it opens soon though – sooner or later I have to get a place for something…
  • I know I have to bring some kind of structure into my running life if I’m to salvage anything from the last few years of running. Goals need to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-specific.
  • I’m starting with micro-goals: I live near Blackford Hill and use the steep steps on the West side to train. I want to be able to run all the way from the bonfire pit at the bottom to the bench at the top by Christmas. At the moment I can run about half – right up until the point where the stairs get really steep.
  • I have to enter some races and I have to fully commit to them. In the first half of 2017 I want to run the D33 and the Glasgow to Edinburgh Ultra, in preparation for a new race, the Tyne Trail Ultra – a 93 mile run from the source of the Tyne to Tynemouth. I went to University in Newcastle, so this race will great for me, but I’m hesitant to enter just yet. One step at a time for now is perhaps wise.
  • In the second half of 2017, I want to run the Devil o’ the Highlands again, and the Glenmore 12 hour again. I must mark the opening dates in my diary, if only to ‘unfollow’ the Facebook groups after entering, in order to get away from the circus of daft questions and poor grammar…
  • I have to find a way to lose this extra weight, and I’m hoping that regular training will shift it. I’ve been ‘hoping’ that for the last year though and it’s not enough. I turned 32 the other day and never have I been more aware of how quickly middle-aged spread sets in as soon as you eat anything nice. I had birthday cake three times last week and a pizza on my birthday, and I feel like I need to start wearing scrubs to work as my jeans are cutting me in half.

That’s all I’ve got for now; just some small nuggets of insight into my current life. It’s always hard to post a blog after a big break;  I never know where to start or what to say. It’s been over two months since my last post and I rarely have the time nor the inclination to write much these days, but since I’m still paying for my hosting and I’ve just renewed my domains, I should really make it more of a priority. It’s unfortunate that much of my new job is creating, strategising, and analysing content, so coming home at night to do it all again makes this bit of fun into a bus-man’s holiday.

I’ve also fallen out of love with blogging in general… I’ve given up reading most of the blogs I’ve been following for the last few years as they have all swung largely in the same direction of courting brands to gain the coveted crown of the word ‘Influencer’ in their social media biographies. There are a handful of blogs out there who I still enjoy reading regularly and who consistently produce high quality visual and written content, either with brand partnership or otherwise, but in general I am exhausted with the saturation of partnerships, sponsorships, and ambassadorships, and the general need to stop and document every single training run with a selection of self-timered pictures of you looking like a very serious runner. I just don’t really want to to read about that any more.

However, I don’t want to stop writing Red Wine Runner as I like to have a record of my own experiences at races, and it’s nice to share that with others sometimes. On the other hand, it’s beginning to make me rather uncomfortable the amount of times people come up to me in public and want to talk to me about this blog. I can vaguely handle it at races, but in the last couple of months I’ve had some particularly odd encounters in non-running situations, and a couple of my SRC clubmates got asked if they were me whilst they were at races recently. I guess it may be too late to get that particular genie back in the bottle, but for the record; I can be a rather awkward penguin at times offline, and I can find dealing with strangers without context pretty challenging. Also, I am nearly 6ft tall with neon red hair – I’m not short with dark hair, or Canadian. So there’s that too. Finally, don’t ever pull your car over next to a runner out by themselves and ask if they’re Red Wine Runner, regardless of how much you think they are or not. Because that’s creepy as hell, and you’re an asshole if you do that.

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I wanted to finish with a Socially Awkward Penguin meme, but I’m not in the mood for a lawsuit with Getty. Please enjoy this Very Angry Penguin instead, and consider it my reaction if I get kerb crawled again.

RECIPE: Haggis Cannelloni

Two weeks ago on the 25th of January it was a very special day; not only was it Burns‘ night, but it was also the birthday of my darling betrothed. With the confluence of these two great annual events came the opportunity to showcase my dazzling culinary skills and create a delicious birthday meal for Kynon. Both of us love Haggis (I stick with the vegetarian option of course), so I decided to make a Haggis based dish with an unusual twist and decided to make Haggis Cannelloni.

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My Mum first made this dish for me years ago, and inspired by it I have since experimented with haggis as a mince substitute on a couple of occasions, creating haggis lasagne and haggis tacos. It’s really quite a simple recipe but it just takes a little time to prepare the various components before assembling the dish for baking. It can be incredibly healthy as well (depending on how much cheese you put on the top), and can be made vegan by exchanging the ricotta for a vegan soft-cheese substitute.

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Vegetarian Haggis is made with lentils, grains and beans so is a great protein-packed food for vegetarian athletes. Lots of spinach also adds a nutritional punch as well.
This recipe will give you 4 hearty servings, or you could stretch it a bit further if you’re serving with accompaniments such as bread and and salad.

Haggis Cannelloni by Rhona Mitchell

Prep time: 20 mins, bake time: 40 mins

Ingredients
250g vegetarian haggis
Box of dry cannelloni
150g fresh baby spinach
40g fresh basil (chopped finely)
150g mushrooms (chopped finely)
2 cloves garlic (crushed and chopped finely)
125g ricotta cheese
Large jar of tomato pasta sauce (I used 660g Lloyd Grossman Tomato and Basil)
Bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
1tsp olive oil

Method
1. Set your over to pre-heat to 200C. Cook your haggis as per the packet instructions and set aside in a bowl to cool.

20130125_1752512. Finely chop basil, garlic and mushrooms

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3. Heat the oil in a large wok and saute the garlic, mushrooms, basil and spinach until the spinach is completely wilted.

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4. Add the sauteed vegetables and ricotta cheese to your bowl of haggis and mix thoroughly.

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5. Blanch cannelloni in salted water and set aside out of the water to cool.

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6. Fill the cannelloni with haggis mixture using a blunt knife – push the mixture to the middle first of all then stuff each end til they are full.

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7. Place filled cannelloni in a greased baking dish. Fill as many as you like – just make sure you have enough tomato sauce to cover them! I did two layers.

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8. Cover the cannelloni in sauce, making sure no pasta edges are peeking out.

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9. Bake in your pre-heated oven for 25 minutes, then add your shredded mozzarella and cook until brown and bubbly – probably about another 15 minutes.

Leave to cool for a few minutes after taking it out of the oven, then serve and enjoy with lots of wine and bread!

Climbing the Learning Curve

So it turns out that despite obsessing religiously over my D33 training plan the last few weeks, I had completely the wrong mid-week running distances in my head and have really jumbled up this week. As noted here I ought to have covered the following:

However I seemed to think it was a good idea to hop from 6 and 9, to 8 and 10? I ran a fairly speedy (in the context of this training) 8 on Wednesday in 1hr 15m but last night began suffering some shin pain and stomach complaints and only completed 5.5. This is the second mid-week mid-distance run I’ve cut short in as many weeks so I’m a bit annoyed about that. It didn’t seem worth it to push through pain when I’ve got so much to do at the weekend though. I know in the bigger picture 4.5miles lost isn’t going to affect my performance in the race in five weeks but these mid-week mid-distance runs are pretty important mentally for me to complete and to miss two in a row is bad behaviour.

Next week will get a little shake up as well as some miles will be redistributed, on Tuesday I’m doing an Open Graded track session with some friends from Fetch where there will be timed Mile, 100m, 200m and 400m events, and on Wednesday I’m journeying to Stonehaven for a 10kish run around the town with Kynon. I WILL complete that 10 miles on Thursday though – no excuses!

I’ve also decided to not run the RAF Kinloss – Lossiemouth Half on Sunday the 19th. Much as I’m gagging to do a race right now, I’ve deduced that I can’t justify the entry fee and petrol money for a race just for fun. My car is due its MOT this month which never fails to completely clean out both my current account and credit card every year so I need every penny I can keep a hold of. However that means I can take part in the latest official Aberdeen Fetch Mile on the Sunday before heading out to cover the remaining balance of miles to make up my 13/13 back to back. It will be interesting to compare how my legs peform in a mile on Tuesday night when fresh, and Sunday morning when fatigued.

I had canvassed readers on my last post and Facebook for requests for topics to talk about regarding my experiences as a beginner ultra-runner and got no response, however there a few notable differences between this and marathon training which have interested me enough to write about them on here. Back at the end of July I wrote that which remains my most popular post to date – 10 Things No-one Tells You About Marathon Training. It contains nothing groundbreaking to experienced runners and marathoners but I’m sure the picture of my gnarly feet will always remain shock-worthy to all. In the eight weeks of training which followed that post and the 26.2 miles they culminated in I learned a whole lot more; about myself, myself as a runner, what it means to hit rock bottom in a race, and learning the hard way that despite all the training, positive thinking and encouragement in the world; the only thing that will make you a better distance runner is experience.

I read a post earlier this week by a blogger who I recently discovered who has become a fast favourite – Eat, Drink, and Run. It’s an incredibly well-written and balanced response to a somewhat inflammatory blog article about running called “Why Jogging is terrible“. I’m not going in to my own thoughts on the blog as I can’t be arsed wading into the argument (by his standards I am a jogger and I am terrible so there’s little point) and besides anything I could try and say has already been covered far more succinctly by Shelby. One of her own points jumped out at me:

“But then I read the paragraph again, and it actually kind of speaks to something that’s been a concern of mine in the running community for several years, especially as the popularity of 13.1 and 26.2 has skyrocketed: namely, the bucket list would-be marathoner who gets off the couch and decides to become a distance runner and – surprise! – gets injured.

Again: everyone has their goals and their reasons. But distance running is no joke. It requires a great deal of work to properly build up to, and a great deal of training and commitment to execute safely. And even then, experienced runners who do everything right get injured all the time.”

I suppose I am 100% guilty of this – 10 months ago I decided I wanted to run a marathon and went and signed up for it, put the work in and promptly got injured on D-Day. I was surprised at the bumpy road to recovery (although in comparison to some friends I’ve had an easy ride) and frustrated that my body didn’t bounce back like many other runners I know.

Now please note; I’m not claiming that 3 months down the line I’m anything further than an ants footstep along the proverbial runners road of experience, but in training for this ultramarathon I am already noticing huge differences in the way I feel and recover before, during and after my runs. My body has already gone through these lo-o-o-ng runs and hours on the road before and muscle memory seems to be serving its purpose. Perhaps it’s also the confidence in knowing that I’ve covered these distances before and that running 18 miles is not going to kill me, and in fact with the right fuel and weather it can actually be quite pleasant.

What has surprised me the most is my recovery times. During marathon training I would run, say, 17 miles on a Sunday and then be rendered incapable of walking due to stiffness the following day. A fortnight ago when I ran 21.5 miles however, even sleeping on a friends floor that night the next day I was up and about with no pain at all. Sure I could feel in my muscles that I’d had a hard effort the day before, but I could have easily gone for a recovery run that day had the weather not been 100% awful and I was a bit hungover and surviving on 4 hours sleep. This increased recovery speed has allowed me to execute successful back-to-back runs each weekend and has given me so much more confidence that I am ready to tackle the ultra distance safely.

I’m sure that by some more experienced runners standards I’m not ready for it – Hell, I’m sure some people are giving me the side-eye for signing up for an ultra so soon after a somewhat shoddy first marathon. On the other hand I trust my experienced friends; Mike, for example,  is about as no nonsense as they come and I’m confident that if he thought I was not capable of this he’d let me know. Just like after the marathon, I’m sure in the months to come I will have some marvellous 20/20 hindsight on how I could have done things a bit better or differently with regards to this race but that’s what a learning curve is all about.

Now, for posterities’ sake I’ll do a brief comparison of the things I was thinking about in that July post and how things are going now…

1 – Your feet are toast
No more surprises here. I’ll spare you a picture for comparison as well, but since my feet have been taking a battering for the last 6 months they are a lot tougher than they were last July. Instead of blistering and falling off, toenails (where present) are thick and warped. I have lovely callouses protecting areas which are more prone to rubbing and the ends of my toes are like rubber. Toenail count: Four!
I have also switched from wearing compression socks to compression calf sleeves, which I think has reduced impact on my toenails  as there’s more room in my shoes. I now swear by my 2XU Compression Calf Sleeves – I love them and wear them for hours after each long run for recovery.

2 – Hunger
I’m not as hungry as I expected, or maybe I’m just used to it and fuel without thinking about it now. The day after a long run I always need a big breakfast (porridge with peanut butter usually), but in general hunger is a lot less of an issue. I eat smartly and often, and still swear by pizzageddon the night before a long run.

3 – Pain
See lengthly statement above on recovery. Sure it’s not all unicorns and rainbows but I’m certainly doing a lot less complaining…maybe I’m just tougher now, or maybe my muscles are stronger. There will always be that first movement of getting yourself out of bed on a morning and moving your joints for the first time; I doubt that ever gets easier.

4 – Weight Gain
I think I’m actually losing weight this time around. I am certainly becoming leaner in some places but I’m not seeing the increase on the scales that I did last summer. Again I think this is down to experience – I know what my body needs to keep ticking over during this training and high-mileage is no excuse for eating whatever you want.

5 – GI issues
What issues? Knowledge is power and as long as you retain what your learned the first time you trained for an endurance event you should be A-OK. I’ll leave this here.

6 – I have a husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/best friend???
Well being a single girl these days, this is no longer an issue for me – right now running is my boyfriend. To be fair I’m pretty much all running all the time right now which works just fine for me, although I have to be honest and say I’ve been guilty of neglecting my non-running friends in 2012. I get home from work and my run/the gym around 7.30/8pm most nights and all I want to do is put on my PJs, put my feet up and turn on the TV. If I can muster the energy to make more than a protein shake for dinner that’s a good day! My flatmate Scott is used to me turning down offers of going to the pub over some quality recovery time on the couch, although we are planning an epic flat warming party for the weekend after the D33 – hopefully I’ll have some friends left to invite 😉

7 – You will want to sleep all the time
In my own experiences this only seems to occur when you increase weekly mileage initially. After your body adjusts to what’s going on it starts to adapt but there was definitely a 10 day period in January when you could not keep me awake for love nor money.

8 – Once upon a time, you had a social life
See #6.
Addendum – I went out with some friends for the first time this year last Friday to a nice bar. I was freaking out as I had nothing nice to wear as I haven’t bought any new ‘going out’ clothes for months. I was annoyed at the prospect of wearing heels and constricting clothing all night instead of lycra and trainers (or pyjamas and slippers…). My dressing table was littered with tubes of deep heat, ibuprofen, empty GU sachets, and body glide instead of nail polish, lipstick, hairspray and necklaces. I moved house in December and I had to rummage around in the back of my wardrobe in my stack of as-yet-unpacked-because-deemed-unnecessary boxes to find a nice matching handbag to go with my outfit. Somehow I managed to pull myself together to make it out in a dress and heels to celebrate Claire’s birthday:

…and then was up to do the first 13 miles of a back-to-back weekender 6 hours after getting home. There’s a balance to be found here somewhere but I guess I’ll address that after the race.

9 – Learn to do your own washing
Well I don’t think my flatmate has any interest in washing my sweaty kit so that says it all. I have bought some nice new shiney, girly kit though which I’m looking forward to racing in at the Arbroath Footers Smokies Ladies 10 Mile Race in March (after appropriate test runs of course) including this cute Nike Skirt:

10. You WILL find out what you are made of… and you might not like it
I found that out last October in the Loch Ness Marathon of Pain. I know after that, I can do anything. 33 miles will be a breeze 😉

 

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