We never know where life is going to take us or what challenges it brings. In January 2010 I was happy, so happy I wanted to stay that way for as long as I could. I realised that if Ali and I wanted a long and healthy life together, we had to change. I was clinically obese, had a bad back and my knees were feeling the strain. I had various health problems and I was ageing faster than my years. I looked ahead to a life I did not want. It was time to change. By the end of the year I had lost 4 stone - 56lbs. My confidence rocketed - I had taken control and it had worked. I was exercising, enjoying buying clothes, speaking up for myself.

I began to believe in myself again, I began to dream. For years I had watched marathons with admiration and a lump in my throat. In April 2013, I ran my first marathon.

This blog is about living life as a slim person, staying slim and fulfilling my dreams. Come and join me, support me, advise me!

Take care, Sue

Sunday, 24 February 2013

20 Miles. 1 milestone.

For every one of us, no matter where we are on our running journey - or any other path we travel in life - there are milestones, there are setbacks and there are lots of lessons to be learnt.

Yesterday I hit a big milestone, may have created a setback and learnt lots of lessons.

I ran 20 miles - my first ever run that long and that far.  I have to make myself stop and appreciate the significance of what I did and take it in. Psychologically, it's a massive boost: I know now I have a marathon in me. On the downside, running that 20 miles may have been a really stupid thing to do and might have cost me Lochaber.

I was fixed on the 20 miles after my run last week. I decided to go early Saturday morning before meeting a dear friend for lunch so I could fit everything in.  I made sure I fuelled up the night before and got up early to eat my porridge. Running on low fuel the other Saturday was a deeply unpleasant experience, I felt un prepared and un focussed and that knocked my confidence. That was one lesson I'd learnt.

But I've lots more to learn and it started before I had even left the house. I may have got my tummy sorted, but I hadn't got all my gear arranged, so I had a  dithery time changing socks and finding my insoles and being generally indecisive. I'm not at my best in the morning and that makes it even more important that I prepare in good time.

As I left the house a few snowflakes fell but it was bright and sunny and I set off at a nice slow pace and settled into the run.  Two minutes after making the beach I slipped and went over on my ankle. I heard a tearing sound. I froze. I cried out in disbelief. Less than a mile into my first 20, fresh and fuelled; and I'd broken my foot (yes I have a tendency to catastrophic thinking!).  But there was no pain when I did it or when I put my foot down so I tentatively started off running. It felt fine. I realised though that mentally I'd not been concentrating, I'd been distracted by an upset I'd had the day before.  It isn't just my kit that I need to get prepared in advance of a long run. Lesson number 2!

It was cold out, but there was very little wind and the sun shone. At that time on a Saturday, the beach is almost empty - just how I like it. Gradually I got into the zone. As I've started doing more and longer runs (especially on the treadmill), I've noticed my brain switches into 'long run mode' and I focus on staying relaxed and letting my body and mind settle in for the duration. It's a wonderful sense of calm and it makes all the difference to the long runs.

I headed up beyond YellowCraigs as usual and then cut back through Dirleton to Gullane via Archerfield. I went along the beach path until it got too muddy and then I headed down towards Aberlady and back more or less the same route.

It was my first go using Lucozade Sport which is the drink available at the Lochaber Marathon and I took the usual jelly babies and a couple of SIS Gels (with caffeine!).  I started fuelling at 30 minutes to keep me mentally and physically on track. I have to say that the Lucozade is horrendously sweet and sticky and generally yuk, but it really did the trick in keeping me feeling fuelled. I took the SIS gels at about 9 and 15 miles (not as horrid as some of the gels I've tried) and jelly babies (yum!) when I needed a little something special and that worked great. I didn't feel starving or weak at any point at all and that made me feel confident and strong. I finished with my muscles on fine form, despite the dodgy ankle and amazingly, I have no muscle aches today.

My foot was fine until about 14 miles when it started to ache a bit but it wasn't painful, so I just slowed down and went carefully. But I made the mistake of coming back along the beach right at the end of the run and a couple of times my (now rather tired) ankle went over and that did hurt.

I got home in one piece, stretched, drank my chocolate power drink, showered, iced and headed out for a most enjoyable (and guilt free) lunch with my chum.  My foot's a bit stiff today and I've a big bruise so I've been doing serious resting and ricing. I've been googling sprained ankles and I might be off my feet for a week or two. But I won't start worrying til I've seen the physio next week.

So, I've hit a milestone but I've paid a price. But I'm ok. It was a simple accident and these things happen. Despite the setback, I now have confidence that I can run a marathon.  Apart from my foot, I don't ache and it's not the end of the world if I have to take a wee running rest after ramping up the distance over the last few weeks.  If I am fit for April, I may have to strap up and walk/run. At worst, I may have to run later in the year. This is just a set back not a derailment. For the moment, I can only wait to know when and how I run, but I know I will and that feels good.

Running  stats this week: a total of 37.5 miles over 3 runs and got my tempo and mid distance speeds up nicely.  1 Pilates and 1 Yoga session and a great pre-long-run massage from Liselle. After yesterday I'm wondering if a pre run massage has at least as much value as a post run massage, my muscles felt great and I had hardly any niggles over the whole run.  So I'm ready to rock - as soon as this pesky ankle is sorted.

Hope you're all having great runs/walks/reads/cycles.

Take care