Sunday, 19 April 2015

Marathon Training Week 8/ Run Piggy, Run!!

Roll me in newspaper with some chips, for I am battered! Busy weekend! Here's my week in training...Please bear in mind that this week looks nothing like the actual plan I have stuck to my freezer:

Mon      Rest day
Tues     Rest day
Weds    3 miles + CrossFit 
Thurs    4 miles
Fri         Rest day
Sat       Invncbl mud run (6 miles)
Sun      Final Run Like a Ninja + 6 miles: The number I managed to get in before my butt intervened by completely cramping up thanks to yesterday's activities.

The Invncbl obstacle course I did in Margam Park yesterday was like nothing I've ever experienced.  It.  Was.  Awesome!  6 miles and twenty something slop covered obstacles.  And to my profound relief, no electric shocks!  Not even a bit of static off of my T-Shirt.  Phew.  It was after only 3 of these that I started to resemble a grinning swamp dweller, when I took two steps into some knee-deep mud and fell flat on my front.  The obstacles turned out to be a lot friendlier than I expected, and much, much muckier.  Turns out, I love being caked in ick and wading through brown water.  I was obviously a sewer rat in a past life.  Or a pig.  
Run, piggy, run!!

The only bits I found especially tough were the many, many, MANY hills we had to climb. Even after we reached the peak of the mountain and "aaaaaw!"d at some fearless bambis that bounded into our midst, we still seemed to be going up.  That mountain defied physics!  This sewer rat most definitely needs to squeeze in some hill repeats before marathon day, or she may well keel over at the first hint of a bump in the road.  Better off realising this now rather than six miles into my jaunt round Liverpool. 

"Oh, is that a hill?  Never mind, I'll just go home."

So, yus.  Despite a water station running out of water at the top of a big, fuck-off hill (resulting in several semi feral people -myself included - sniffing half empty bottles to see if they were "okay to drink"), and one or two of the obstacles being shut down early on because people were spraining ankles, and apparently breaking a leg (literally, not showbiz style), the memory of flinging myself over walls and wading through muck will be a favourite for a long, long while.  The sense of camaraderie was immense, especially as both my running club Run 4 All, and the Outcast CrossFit box were all running in the same wave.  Was an insane experience to be surrounded by that many familiar, filthy faces and to share the experience with all of them. 

No one worried about finishing time, because both groups (I entered with Run 4 All) chose to stick together and to leave no man behind.  Everyone was too busy regressing to being six years old, when mud was for throwing and water for splashing around in to be concerned about something as silly as how quickly they could finish.  It's a sentiment I hope to keep with me in my future races.  Might have to remind myself that lobbing clumps of dirt at people isn't quite as socially acceptable in city events, though.

What I got out of Invncbl:

 A too-big T-shirt because they'd run out of all other sizes
 A new medal (shiny shiny shinyyy!!)
 A refreshed outlook of speed < fun
A smug-ass grin.  Look at her and her smug little face.

I'm off out to roll around in the garden and climb a tree now.  
I think I might need to be re-socialised.

Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Marathon Training Week 7/ SUGAR!!! OMIGOD, SUGAR!!!!

7 weeks in! Ermagerd, shit's getting really, REALLY real! I'm actually going to have to do this thing, aren't I?  Without much further ado, please observe a glorious week in which I followed my training plan to.  The.  Letter.  Oh.  My. Gawd (lookat. Her. Butt*):

Mon    Restful day of resting (so restful)
Tues   5 miles
Weds  Who am I to resist a-rest (haw haw)?
Thurs 3 miles & Crossfit, during which I learned I can now fling 25kg onto my shoulders easily! Rejoicing!
Fri     4 miles
Sat  Stag do/dancing at an Irish bar induced hang over. Rest day
Sun   Penultimate Run Like a Ninja & 14 MILES!!!

Furthest I have ever-ever-ever-ever run!  And it was enjoyable!  Ninja lesson of the day was about getting cadence (the optimum number of steps to take per second while running = approx 3, or 180 beats per minute).  I learned that as long as my feet hit that ideal 1-2-3 rhythm, I could control my speed by either zipping my ankles higher up my legs to go faster, or by keeping my feet close to the floor for a low 'n' slow pace.  The way I run has completely changed over the last few weeks; for the better.  Zero injuries, and thanks to more frequent walk breaks (still getting used to not berating myself for having to do this and accepting that it's a better method of running long distance for me), I'm remembering to enjoy myself.  Plus, I'm still weirdly faster the more often I let myself have walk breaks.  Maybe if I walk the marathon, I'll win? Haz I dun a logick?

My epically tanned and muscular calves after 14 fun solo miles, 
because after 14 miles, my face wasn't prepared to be photographed.
Cameras have yet to have red-face reduction as well as red eye.

Aaand this week's plan is all going to go to shit because I've signed up to my first ever obstacle course, which falls on a rest day (Saturday).  It's the Margam Invncbl run.  6 miles, 20-something obstacles and a whole heap o' mud!  Have discovered that there are electric shocks at one point along the course.  I may or may not be sitting in soiled pants as I type.  I HATE electric shocks!!  I get pissy enough when I get static shocks off of shopping trollies.  Keep an eye out for a 5ft3 She-Hulk on the news.  I don't know how rage-y more than a little static is likely to make me.  If I even do that part of the course.  But there is a medal and a t-shirt, so no backing out now.  I have a pretty new shiny to collect, G-D it!

Runnin' done for this post.  Main topic I'm going to cover today was brought on by a conversation I had with the osteopath I met through Outcast CrossFit and who is doing a damn good job of making sure I don't make any of my own limbs fall off from over use during training (Swansea Body Kinetics - Rosie Jones).  Turns out we are both frequent sugar giver-uppers/binge consumers.  My attitude to sweets/cakes/other delicious things that make my brain light up like a Catherine wheel is well summed up by a Mark Twain quote I saw somewhere about his smoking habits:

 “To cease smoking is the easiest thing I ever did. I ought to know because I’ve done it a thousand times.”

I give up sugary treats every single day I when I wake up. Granted, it's not a habit akin to smoking in the eyes of most (especially if you are smoking in the eyes of most.  People don't like that, apparently), but I really believe that my addiction to the sweet stuff is just as intense, and can be just as damaging to our health in the long term.  I've read enough about it** to know why I shouldn't be eating Maoams at every meal.  Some examples of what excessive amounts of sugar can do to you:
  • Fatty liver
  • Fat and triglycerides in the blood
  • Visceral fat
  • All of the above can contribute to heart disease
  • Damages collagen (translates: makes you prematurely look like a well used handbag)
  • Over time makes you increasingly resistant to insulin, causing you to be at higher risk for diabetes.
 My logical Cleverbrain knows that if I keep eating nutritionally void party foods on the daily, I am likely to become a diabetic thirty year old who looks like she should have a bus pass and is one trifle away from an Elvis style heart attack on the bog.  No person wants that for themselves.  Nope.  No quick rush of "weeh, this is nice!" is worth it.  Cleverbrain also knows that nice things happen when I give up sugary snacks, because it's helped me try do it enough times.  When I'm off the Devil's granules,
  • I'm more awake because I'm not in a WEEEEE!...zzzz...AAAAGH!!!...zzzz....WEEEEH!! cycle of peaks and crashes in my alertness.
  • I'm a nicer person to be around because I'm less crazy from the merry-go-round of energy levels and spiking emotions.
  • My brain feels less foggy.  Probably because it's not filled with bits of Fruit Pastille.
  • I get physically leaner very quickly. I'm not too bothered about my weight, but it is easier to do my runs without little functionless almost-saddlebags that I can't even carry my loose change in.
 Of course I'm always going to want sugar.  Because frankly, it's fucking delicious. But it does bug me that all of my reasoning and good intentions to give myself a better chance at carving myself an independent and healthy old age is ruined by Cleverbrain's nemisis, the evil Professor Shitforbrains, who frequently turns up in my mind like an obese, grabby-handed child with chocolate on its face going 


I don't get it.  How have humans evolved to think for themselves, and at the same time be contantly overruled by destructive impulses "just because it's nice and I want it, I want it now!"?  I understand that in the grand scheme of things, my "problem" isn't a problem anywhere near the scale of those experienced by people suffering with genuinely life ruining habits, but it is something I've grappled with for years.

Rosie the Magical Osteopath (sorry, Rosie, I've made you sound like a character off Playdays!  Send Why Bird and Poppy the cat my regards) made the point that maybe the reason that sugar is so easy to binge on is exactly that.  There's no sudden danger or deterioration while you're "on" it, and no dramatic comedown to put you off having more.  The negative effects are more long term, silent and creeping, which is ominous enough, but nothing like the shock of seeing a picture of a burnt up lung on a packet of Lambert & Butler.

Maybe after the marathon, I'll set myself a project to ease my dependance on sugar out of my life.  For now, I just wanted to get the topic out of my head, because it's been bugging me for a while.

Apparently I have a comments doohicky on this thing that I seldom mention/use.  Let me know - is your consumption of sugar something that bugs you, too?  Or am I alone here under my pile of Drumsticks and Sherbert Dip Dabs?

Also phwoar.  Do Sherbert Dip Dabs still exist??

*Apologies if, like me, you now can't get Nicki Minaj's manic giggles out of your head from that surreal version of Baby Got Back she did either.  "EhhhhHAHAHAHAH!!!"

** Two really good reads to get you started if interested: That Sugar Book - Damon Gameau and Sweet Nothing - Nicole Mowbray

Monday, 6 April 2015

Marathon Training Week 6/Evidence That I'm An Adult

Happy chocolate coma bonanza weekend!! Or "Jesus-Is-Back, hooray!" weekend, if your leanings border more on the spiritual than the gluttonous.  Something for everyone, is Easter! I've had a bit of a crappy week running-wise, so I'm not going to go into too much detail on that subject today.  Been over thinking everything from my speed to stupid things like how I position my thumbs, making the experience a bazillion times harder for myself.  I ran, walked and dragged myself around thirteen tough miles this week.  How I'm going to do that distance twice over in one run in June is beyond me.  But, knowing me, a bad week wod usually followed by a good one, so we'll leave it at a summary of my week, move on and hope for a better one next week!

Mon     Rest day
Tues    5 miles
Weds   Rest day
Thurs   3 miles
Fri        13 miles
Sat       Rest day/hang over (what? It's Easter!)
Sun     4 sicky, too hot-nightmare miles

Now that's out of the way, the topic I'm going to be covering today is grown-upishness.  I am twenty seven years young (sonny Jim!), and now that Spring is ...err...springing (?), my Facebook feed is turning into a combination of two different kinds of status update.  The classic Disney film Bambi was right all along.  Spring gets everybody twitterpated.  For those who haven't seen Bambi (what? How haven't you seen Bambi?  Did you not have a childhood?!):

 Here are the two statuses that I've been subject to:

Status One: Holy shit, we've made a human out of our combined DNA!

Status Two:  Hurrah! We are contractually tying ourselves together as a public display of our enduring affections!

No complaints about the presence of these statuses.  Number one blows my mind because it  amazes me that people can make people out of themselves and number two is always good news because parties!  Big, glamorous parties with dancing and friends!

It just weirds me out that my friends and I are at the age where spawning and conjoining are normal things that happen now.  I am still a teenager in my mind, and have no bigger responsibility than keeping myself alive - a task monumental enough on its own.  I'm hard work!

So, I've been thinking (oh dear).  There are many, many more than two ways to feel like a grown-up. Despite my enduring love for sweets and near total lack of attention span 

Hey, look, there's a dog outside!  Hahaha, stupid dog...

...I can't avoid that I am getting older.  I may not have a human in my pipe works, or a contractual agreement to like somebod indefinitely, but I am terrifyingly, undeniably climbing the ladder to adulthood. Evidence:
1.  I have a pension!  I have no idea how much I put into it each month or how it works.  I could have signed up for the big boss to feed rolled up wads of my cash to their chihuahua once a month for all I know, but it makes me feel like a functioning adult to say I have one. 

2.  I am ridiculously hypersensitive about how everything I do/think/eat affects my health.  This doesn't necessarily lead to better decisions, but at least I'm aware of how much visceral fat I'm clogging myself with whenever I have an ill advised Maoam/cheese/Pringles feast just because I can't think of anything better to do at the time. 

3.  I think about buying a house.  A lot.  So far, A and I have saved up enough to purchase maybe a toilet and a "Welcome" mat, but, hey, everyone needs a toilet. 

4.  Night times - especially week nights - are for waiting until bedtime.  I LOVE bedtime!  After the day's final bout of eating and sitting down is done, all I can think about is how much longer I have to wait before crawling under the squashy duvet and waiting for sweet, sweet unconsciousness.  Even if "sweet unconsciousness" can sometimes mean the cat swatting my face to be let out, A snoring and me having the kinds of dreams that would terrify the most experienced of shrinks. 

5.  I have managed to live happily in the same rented accommodation for over three years now with not even a twinge of an urge to decorate it.  It is a student-esque cesspit of dishes and floor-drobes (posh for "piles of clothes eveywhere but the actual wardrobe").  I have recently been experiencing a scarily strong compulsion to go out and buy curtains.  Curtains!  

6.  I watch Homes Under The Hammer out of choice.  I got out of bed specifically to watch it this morning.  When did that start happening?! 

7.  I am three years off the big three-oh, but in order to soften the blow of the inevitability of not being in my twenties anymore, I have begun to prematurely identify as a thirty year old.  Self defense mechanism, I think. 

8.   A trip to Starbucks and a walk "somewhere outdoorsy" is now an idea of a nice day out for me. 

9.  I use the term "nice day out." 
 I trust you're all having a lovely weekend, packed with "nice days out" and either binge drinking or going to places that your kids give you access to that would otherwise make you look like a creepy weirdo (petting zoo, anyone?).  Now.  Who's ready to go back to work?  Walter? 

"NOOOOOOOO!! You can't make me!!"

Happy Easter! xx