Motivation and The Mean Girl

Well into Week 8 of injury down time here at Conquest Towers. Initially I like to think I took my second ITB injury in my stride. I knew what to expect, and I hit the physio exercises hard, only throwing one or two full on diva temper tantrums. I got on the spin bike regularly and gave it 110%, and made peace with the Foam Roller Of Spiteful Death. It was going well. I even started climbing to keep me distracted

Climbing Heroes
What running injury?

This burst of positivity didn’t last for long. I was hit with a fairly brutal summer cold, combined with a manically busy period at work and a very serious case of all consuming ‘meh’. Typically my nutritional planning then went out the window as I reached for chocolate, sugar and caffeine to save the day, instant fixes and serious sugar comedowns. Add in a dash of ‘I-just-can’t-be-arsed’ for good measure and you’ve got a very unmotivated and pretty pissed off person.

But it wasn’t just the stressed out immune system to blame – officially giving up the Royal Parks place sucked. This was going to be the Half that I delivered a decent PB, and I’d wipe out the memory of literally sobbing through mile 8 last year, when the first ITB injury flared up in all its agonising glory. It was the race that would kick off a new season of ‘proper running’. You know the stuff, training that is synchronised in perfect harmony with your schedule, where you cross train as often as you know you should, where PBs are beaten every month. I had a very clear idea that this would herald in some new era in fitness, and in turn I would finally become a ‘Proper Runner’ too. But I had to say no thanks. I’m on  the bench, I need to recover and rebuild recondition. And in my head I hear this:  I’m obviously just not cut out for this. My body is just rubbish, just stop. Its too hard

So here’s the thing. I am still trying to convince that surly cynical sulking inner teenager of my youth that I’m actually capable of doing this. Every slower than expected mile, every ache, every twist, every injury  I can hear her sniggering from behind a fog of Marlborough, snapping gum and smirking, ‘You don’t really think you can do this do you? Making an arse of yourself out there wearing STUPID shorts and UGLY trainers, and you look a right sweaty mess, wheezing through a 15 minute run. What a JOKE’ 

She’s a total bitch.

I should know, I was her for a damn sight longer than I like to admit.

It’s this long standing fiercely personal fight that’s the hardest one. I’ve conquered my fears about running outdoors in broad daylight wearing VERY short shorts. I’m deliriously happy when I look in the mirror and I’m practically puce – I can laugh at the fact that I forget to take my mascara off and I look like Alice Cooper on a spin bike. I really couldn’t give a flying fuck about what the blokes at the pub are shouting after me as I ran past. But if I spend too much time in my own head, I’ll find a reason why I shouldn’t bother. That insecure, bullying, spiteful voice gets a little louder and picks tiny holes in all my hard earned esteem.

Hence the climbing, the roller blading, the cycling. I suspect I may take up motorbiking too, that might shut up the Mean Girl in my head. Scare the shit out of her. I’ve also noticed making a total fool of myself and laughing about it, keeps her pretty quiet too – so there was this:

Harley Nerd

Combine the two, fear and being ridiculous and I give you Survival of the Fittest  in November. If that doesn’t shut her up, it may just convert her. Get her to give up the snark and take up the pom poms. I need to become my own biggest cheer leader. Thankfully I’ve got a few awesome people around me, doing that job well. You guys rock (you know who you are!)

Long suffering spouse

Stella. Coach Almighty

New Season, New Look

Spring has not sprung. It’s mid April and we still have the heating on, I am making full use of all my coats and and the electric blanket. Because its freezing. And with it being April, everyone is marathon obsessed, and out pounding pavements all over London. Inspiring stuff bearing in mind the horrendous weather.

Joining in the ‘spring’ spirit, I have also started training, albeit mostly on the treadmill because I have totally wimped out, but training nonetheless. I have signed up to We Own The Night in Victoria Park on May 18th, which will be my first race since the disaster that was the Royal Parks.

Following advice from my physio, I’m combing the running with two spinning sessions a week, and that combined with the eating plan means I have bought myself my first pair of size 8 jeans since I was about sixteen! The bad news is I have to get my wedding ring resized, and my credit card has taken a serious beating.

It’s been hugely satisfying watching all the hard work pay off, eating healthier, getting my form right and as a result, achieving my goal weight. But that does require a new wardrobe full of clothes that actually fit, rather than shirts that bunch up in the wrong places because they’re just a bit too big. That includes new belts, new bras (slightly gutted), new running kit (that doesn’t fall down), and of course, new jeans!

So thought I’d dig out an old snap from my training last year (right)  prior to the eating/coaching plan, and a snap of me a few weeks ago (left). Eighteen pounds down (circa 8kgs) and four to go! That sub 1 hour 10K race in May, could just be doable

ARMS and ABS! All Hail the New Regime

Week Two of the New Running Regime. Just a few sessions under my belt and I can already see a huge improvement, that and it feels completely different. Much more streamlined.

The main focus has been strengthening my core, in a bid to stabilise my running and sort out the alignment. So that means literally, sucking it (the abs) up. I have never felt my abs work like they do when I’m working this program. Hopefully by the end of this I should have a wash board stomach.

The running itself is knackering, mentally as well a physically. The combination of core work, and trying to remember to pull in the tail bone, keep the back soft, remembering to lift and pull (hamstrings and glutes) rather than push (calves) AND lean forward from the ankles to aid momentum, my brain is having a hard time keeping up with my feet. That’s only doing two minute intervals (running) and three minutes walking. Exhausting and I have to keep reminding myself to breathe.

Most of the time all I can hear in my head is my coach shouting ARMS and ABS! Repeatedly. Arms must not swing across my body. Ever. Abs need to be in pain. Constantly.

Once a week I get filmed running on the treadmill (*cringe* but a great motivation to pull in the abs!) so my running coach and me can check out what’s going right and what’s still going wrong. Everything from my left hip collapsing half way through the cycle and the weird flick I do with my right foot. But its also great for seeing how far I have come, with four weeks still to go.

The great news is that I am already faster. Like much faster. I can’t quite believe it was as simple as bring the feet in line with my centre of gravity, upping the cadence and leaning forward. Just a tad. Well, let’s be honest, I’m running faster in two minute spurts. Not sure I could keep up the pace for 13.1 miles. But we’ll see.

Here’s me after 20 minutes (that reflection is actual sweat + smudged mascara for proper authenticity). I usually looked like this after 2 hours. So that’s efficiency for you!
Here’s hoping for a 5km for Christmas.

Hair a complete state and V sweaty. Not well documented here!