The first thing I said when I crossed the finish line of the 2013 Birmingham Half Marathon was “I’m never doing that again.”
So here we are, four years later, gearing up to doing it again. I’m nothing if not a woman of my word. Or not.
In 2013 I ran in memory of Rick, a lifelong friend of my Dad’s who sadly lost his life to motor neurone disease. I did lots of running to train for the event, gradually building up my distance week by week, as is advised by the Gods of Running. Or running magazines, whichever.
Whilst doing lots of running was all well and good, I didn’t do much else by way of physically preparing myself to run 13.1 miles. And yes, that .1 is very important and feels like an additional 10 miles. At least it did when I managed to injure myself at the 7-mile mark. Holy moly the second half the run was fun. I suddenly started getting stabbing pains in my ITB (the muscle that runs down the outside of your hip and into your outer thigh, if you’re not familiar). It genuinely felt like someone I’d wronged in a previous life was stabbing me with knitting needles each time I pounded the floor with my left foot.
My theory is that if I’d spent some time strengthening the supporting muscles used for running, maybe my hips and ITBs would have been better able to rise to the occasion.
I said I wasn’t going to do it again for 2 reasons.
1. It bloody hurt
2. It takes a lot of time to train for a half marathon.
Both very valid points.
But on the other hand, I do like to challenge myself. I also enjoy the mental benefits of running, and the feeling when I realise I’ve run further than ever before and all of a sudden it’s like I’m running on clouds and I can achieve anything I put my mind to and ALL IS GRAND.
Plus, I get to go running in very beautiful areas…
Case in point. The only very minor downside to this is that I’m always stopping to take photos (and stroke dogs).
If you haven’t read this post, you may not be aware that earlier this year my Dad has a pretty serious stroke, and it turned our lives upside down.
I decided I wanted to do something positive with the experience. Strokes, for the most part, can be prevented through healthy lifestyle choices like not smoking or drinking, eating a healthy diet, and getting regular exercise. From speaking to various people, it seems not everybody knows this. I reached out to the Stroke Association and asked about the work they do to educate people on stroke prevention.
So the decision was made. I am running the 2017 half marathon in aid of Stroke Association. If I can prevent one person from suffering from a stroke, I’ll be overjoyed.
I started properly training for the half marathon at the end of April, combining running with strength training. Then I promptly ran into problems with a clunky hip at the end of May. It kinda derailed my beautifully designed training plan. Big sobs.
I’ve been having physiotherapy to help strengthen the hip, and my physio has told me I’m absolutely fine to be running long distances. I’m now playing catch up as there are only 5 1/2 weeks to go until the big day. I’ve been continuing to strengthen my lower body through body weight and free weight training, and doing lots of walking and very short runs. Fingers and toes crossed that my clunky hip hasn’t been detrimental to my training.
My focus now is to continue building strength, stretching as often as I can, and increasing my running distance week-on-week.
Side note – Does anyone else find stretching really boring? I always feel amazing afterwards, but when I’m doing it I’m generally wondering how long it is until I can stop and do something more exciting. If anyone has any tips for jazzing things up a bit in the stretching department, please feel free to holla in my direction.
Right, I think that’s enough half marathon waffle for one day. I expect I’ll post again nearer to the time…hopefully not for anti-inflammatory and/or pain relief recommendations. Maybe I’ll do a post focused on tips for training in the dark, wet weather that is about to hit us in the UK. Or healthy and vegan running fuel ideas? Let me know if there’s anything you’d like me to write about. I hereby officially declare this floor…open for suggestions!
Oh, I nearly forgot. If anybody would like to make a donation to my fundraising page, I would love you forever. You can take a look here.
Have a great day, lovelies!