Blood, Sweat and (S)miles

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while will remember that last year I all but smashed my face open on the pavement:

256446_10150970732192655_708382733_oI’m still sporting a rather garly looking scar from the incident (it is, though, covered by my glasses, which is a bit of a shame really).

Then, you’ll remember, I took the tops of both of my knees during the recent Royal Parks Ultra.  Well, tonight I have done it again, and then some.  My knee looks like it’s been hit with a baseball bat, and that it has a baseball inside it.  I tripped over, you see, on my way to running club.  Almost literally outside my house.  I almost didn’t go, but I did.  I jogged, lightly, down to the meeting point and then stood around for a few minutes.  By the time we got going again my knee was painful.  Like, very painful.

So what would a smart runner do?  That’s right, the long course.  10km running on a dodgy knee.  That’s smart runner thinking right there.

So, I have come home, gingerly peeled my blood-soaked tights off, iced my knee and now I am going to bed feeling sore and sorry for myself and hopefully I will wake up with a nice, normal looking knee, just minus a little bit of skin.

I’m really turning into an accident-prone runner.  Really…

 

Advertisements

Fireworks!?! For Me!?!

I haven’t been doing much running lately, which is bad.  I wanted to get out today with the Neon Toddler in the buggy, but she pulled up with a pretty bad fever and a nasty sounding cough.  Not a condition I wanted to take her out for a run with.

So I haven’t been for a run since Sunday, when I did ten km around my local area.  And there were fireworks.

I basically do a large rectangle, and it was the final corner, about 2km from home when the fireworks started.  One at first, and then a few more, and then – as I rounded the corner – a whole pile of Catherine wheels shot up into the sky.  It was amazing.  It really gave me a boost, too, and I ran home in a pretty decent time.

Tomorrow night is Wednesday and that means it’s an Eagles night.  I am really enjoying running with the club, and I’m looking forward to going on some of the longer weekend runs in the coming weeks (hopefully starting this weekend!).  And, perhaps I might even get the courage up to make it to a track night some time next year.  I might wait until the summer.

Things in general have been stressful – with the end of my PhD looming and my thesis being in its death-throes – and with the illness that’s ripped though my life today (not my life, really, but…)

I am determined to make running a bigger priority, and I am going to start doing some ballet for cross-training and core strength.  That’s the plan anyway.

So, give me your tips to get motivated to run though the winter – I think I need them.

Two years ago

image

Yesterday the Neon Toddler turned two. Two years ago I wasn’t a runner, and we were scared new parents. I never imagined that I would be sitting on the couch with a child – a walking, talking, independent little hurricane of a beautiful girl.

A girl who inspires me, who loves me, who is super smart. A little Neon.

Happy birthday, my wonderful girl.

image

image

image

(ETA: ha ha ha, I just noticed that NT is wearing the exact same t-shirt in all the recent photos.  I promise she has more than one shirt, I just really happen to like that one!)

Our Top 5 Medals

So, I’ve been sitting here looking at the medal-and-race-bibs wall:

2013-10-11 12.40.53

And I was thinking: which are the coolest medals we have – because, like most runners, Mr. Neon and I have some awesome medals, and some less awesome medals.  That’s not just about looks, but about the race experience, the memories and everything associated with the medals (and, incidentally, my top 5 medals isn’t the same as my top 5 race numbers.)  So here they are, my top five medals:

NUMBER FIVE

2013-10-12 12.42.04

Mr. Neon’s most recent half marathon, the second Ealing Half.  It’s our local race, and run by my running club (or, at least, all the people who run it are pretty much Eagles, I don’t think it’s an actual ‘club race’ as such).  It’s just a cool looking medal.  Not as cool as the previous year’s though…

NUMBER FOUR

2013-10-12 12.42.06

Which is this one.  This was the first medal on our wall that had a cut-out.  The thing I like about both the Ealing Half medals is that they aren’t mostly sponsor logo.  They’re just nice, clean, simple, cool looking medals.

NUMBER THREE

2013-10-12 12.42.00

Affectionately termed ‘The Penis Medal’ (and you can see why), this was Mr. Neon’s first marathon.  It’s here by virtue of it’s name.

NUMBER TWO

2013-10-12 12.41.33

Contrary to what I said above about corporate sponsorship, my Adidas Thunder Run 24 medal is the second best on our wall.  The middle yellow bit spins around, which is pretty cool, but apart from that the experience was amazing.  This race single-handedly convinced me to join a running club.

NUMBER ONE
2013-10-12 12.41.28

I don’t have to say too much about this, because I said it all a few days ago.

Mr. Neon says his top five medals are:

5. EMF Penis medal (down two)

4. This year’s Ealing Half (up one)

3. Thames Meander Marathon (MNs 2nd marathon)

2. TR24 (same)

1. Royal Parks Ultra (same)

What are your favourite race medals?

Thames Trot 50 mile training plan (aka many weeks of pain and fun)

Week

Hard/Easy

M*

Tu

W*

Th

F

Sa

Su

Total

16/9

H

6

10

6

25

10

57

23/9

H

6

10

6

28

10

60

30/9

E

6

6

6

13

6

37

7/10

H

6

10

6

32

13

67

14/10

H

6

10

10

32

16

74

21/10

E

6

6

6

16

10

44

28/10

H

6

10

10

35

16

77

4/11

H

6

13

10

35

16

80

11/11

E

6

6

10

16

10

48

18/11

H

6

13

10

42

16

87

25/11

H

6

13

10

42

16

87

2/12

E

6

10

10

16

13

55

9/12

H

6

16

10

42

16

90

16/12

H

6

16

10

42

16

90

23/12

E

6

13

10

16

13

58

30/12

H

6

20

10

45

20

101

6/1

H

6

20

10

45

20

101

13/1

Taper

6

13

10

16

13

58

20/1

Taper

6

10

16

32

27/1

Race

5

3

R

14+Race

NB: All values are in kilometers.

*These are club run nights

So yesterday I went for a run

CaptureAnd this was it.  All 50kms of the Royal Parks Ultra. My first ultra.  In fact, my first marathon.  Now I hurt, but particularly my left knee and hip, which I hurt yesterday.  And that’s where my race went downhill.

The truth is that I didn’t start my race to plan, and that might have contributed to my eventual injury.  I had decided to try and run even pace of 7:00-7:12 minute kilometers the whole race.  Instead, my first 15 kms looked like this:

CaptureThat’s not 7:00-7:12 minute kilometers.

Coupled with that, just before the 10km aid station I fell over and skinned both knees (this is from around 18km later, and after having washed the blood streaks off my legs.)

2013-10-06 11.57.16 HDRAt that same point I looked like this:

2013-10-06 11.57.20 HDRAnd Mr. Neon said this on Facebook:

CaptureIn truth (and hindsight) I didn’t feel that dodgy.  In fact, I felt pretty good.  This was around 28kms, I’d just seen my friend Jo, who was marshalling, I’d hit ‘home turf’ (that is, path I run regularly) and I was cruising.  I was running steadily (though too fast, really).  I’d listening to music for only 4kms (I was determined to only use the music when I needed a boost, and not just because.)  So up until this point I don’t have too much to say.

You will notice, however, that I am eating a Calippo.  That thing saved my life – the cool, icy, sugary goodness.  There were a number of runners (both in and not in the race) who commented on it, mainly asking where I got it.  It must have looked pretty funny, a lady running along eating an icypole.  But there you go.

So, just after the 30km mark I slipped – I didn’t think too much of it, after my 10km tumble I’d slipped over another half a dozen times without hitting the deck again.  Two steps later it dawned on me that I’d actually done something to myself.  What I think happened is that when I tried to recover from the slip I landed weirdly on my left leg and twisted my knee.  It hurt.  I kept running, but with ever increasing walk breaks.

The big problem, I soon discovered, was not my knee but my hips.  I’d changed my running style to compensate for my knee and my hips decided that they weren’t too happy about that.

About this point I met George, another Mind runner, who had also injured his knee.  Together we ran, walked, hobbled, talked, and encouraged each other through the last 20ish kms.

I don’t remember too much about it, but I do remember running – suddenly light and full of energy – down towards the finish line, and crossing with George and a high-5.

2013-10-06 15.42.31 HDRSo, that’s it.  I finished my first marathon and  my first ultra in one day.  I hurt, I didn’t cry, and I’m super proud of my achievement.  What’s next?  A better time, a stronger run, more training.

It might sound silly but yesterday’s race has really inspired me to take my running more seriously.  Perhaps join a gym, try and finally make it to Parkrun, do some speedwork, love my long runs.

Make the most of my running club.

And now, I want to run – because I love running.  And, now I’m an ultra runner.

(also, please remember that you can still contribute to my fundraising efforts for Mind by clicking here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/EllieMackin – whatever you can donate all helps!)