"} Get a life, Get active! By Fit Lesley: December 2013

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Time to review 2013!

It’s that time of year to review my fitness resolutions of 2013 and set new ones for 2014. 

How did I get on?  

2013 has not been a good year for me fitness wise so I haven't achieved all the goals I set. 

However, I am pleased to report that I have finally picked myself up from wallowing in self-pity and got back on the programme!

The year started badly with me rupturing my ankle ligaments in January and I ended up on crutches and off work for quite some time.  

It took a long time for the pain to be bearable and I think I pushed too much, too hard, too soon when I was back on the mend!   I had York Marathon booked for early October and was keen to get the miles back up and recover my former fitness. This situation wasn't helped by me having a 3 week road trip touring California during August which left no time for running! 

Consequently on my return I went straight back into it and within 2 weeks I ended up with Achilles problems, along with a torn Rectus Femoris which in laymans terms is a torn thigh muscle.

So all in all a dire year!  But one that has taught me many valuable lessons!!

2013 Highs:
Completing my first triathlon.
Getting a 10K PB at Manchester.

2013 Lows: 
Not being able to run due to injury.
Pulling out of 8 races due to injury including a Marathon.
Not getting in on the Ballot for the London Marathon 2014.
Not achieving my goal for a sub 50 minute 10K or sub 1:50 Half Marathon.

These were my goals for 2013, and the outcome of my efforts!

Compete in a Duathlon.  Unfortunately due to my injuries I couldn't compete in a Duathlon.

Accumulate 2013 miles whilst walking, running, cycling, swimming. Unfortunately due to injuries I am nowhere near this goal!

Walking = 322.84 miles
Running = 767.25 miles
Cycling = 187.95 miles
Swimming = 43.87 miles
TOTAL= 1324.08 miles 

In 2012  I did 2058.21 so I have done 734 miles less this year!  YIKES!

•  Experiment with off-road running:  Due to suffering with Ligament damage in my ankle I have been reluctant to run off-road in case I get injured again so I have been playing it safe by staying on road.  However, last week I decided that my ankle hadn't caused me any pain recently so risked my first off-road run!  I loved it and felt free!  I didn't even worry about my pace I just enjoyed it.  I have since been on a 12 mile off-road run which was incredibly hard but thoroughly enjoyable. Definitely something to pursue in 2014.

•   Run another Marathon and improve my time: aim for a sub 4 hour time!
 I had York marathon booked for October this year but due to my injuries I had to cancel. However I am running Manchester Marathon in April 2014 so this goal still stands!

•   Run a sub 50 minute 10K road race!   I managed to get a 10K PB at Manchester and finished in 52:54.  Still a way to go to achieve a sub 50!

• Run a sub 1:50 Half Marathon! My fastest Half Marathon this year was 1:58:41 which is very disappointing.  My PB is 1:57:54 so still a long way off!

Compete in a Triathlon. In between my injuries I managed to compete in a try-a-tri in Blackpool which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I had a sprint triathlon booked for September but I had to cancel due to injury!

.• Run 12 races in 12 months!   I didn't manage this but came close! I had to cancel 8 races due to injuries, but still managed to complete 10 races albeit not very well!

What worked in 2013: 
Joining the Tri Club swimming training sessions to improve my swim technique. 
I have got into a good  routine where I stretch regularly after running. 
Having regular sports massages and using a foam roller when necessary to avoid further injuries.

What didn't work in 2013: 

Staying injury free and getting more cycling in!

Keep Doing

Follow training plans and set goals. 
Keep attending The Tri Club swim and run sessions. 
Stretch well after exercise and going to Yoga! 
Have a sports massage regularly.

Start Doing:
Become involved with The Tri Club Cycling group. 
Listen to my body!  
Hill training and speed intervals.

Stop Doing
Running junk miles with no purpose! 
Being negative and comparing myself to others! 
Being too hard on myself!

Goals for 2014:

        *PRIORITY*      Remain injury free
Do another Triathlon.
Do an Open Water Swim.
Run a PB Marathon.
Enter Off Road trail races.
Run 12 Races in 12 Months.
Get PB's in all distances!
Accumulate in all activities a total of 2014 miles
Run a total of 1057 miles 4 Haddie!

Requirements (aims) to successfully accomplish goals for 2014: 
12 minute 500m (20 lengths) swim 
43 minute 18K Cycle 
25 min 5k off bike Run
Under 9 minute mile pace running long distance
Under 8 minute miles over 10k (or shorter) distances.

Train off road once a week.
Have sports massages and use foam roller.

My Strengths: Consistent when following training plan and motivated by others and challenges.

My Weaknesses
Lack of speed in all 3 disciplines for a Triathlon! 
Not confident in my swimming ability. 
Always “holding” back and not pushing myself 100% during training and races.  Always feel I have   more to give at the end but I am reluctant to push too hard in case I overdo it and “hit the wall”. 

Injury prone!

Areas to improve: 
Make each training session count! Don't run "junk" miles.  Ask what I hope to achieve before each     run to have a focus i.e speed, hills, pace, distance. 

• Train off road.
Improve swimming technique and speed.  Aim for 2 minutes for 100m front crawl. 
Increase cycle cadence and learn to change gears more appropriately. 
Increase cycling average speed to 15MPH.
Increase road running average pace to 8 min/miles.
Improve skills required to drink and take on energy gels whilst on bike.
Practise transitions. Running with a bike, changing shoes etc

Practise "Brick" sessions - swim to bike and bike to run.

So that's me motivated for another busy year!  My first race of the year is the Central Lancashire New Year Half Marathon on the 5th January!

Bring it on!

Last run of the year!

Another rainy day in the Lake District but I wasn't going to miss the last run of the year!

So at 11 O Clock when I realised it wasn't going to stop raining I donned my wet weather gear and set out the door.  The training plan stated 4 miles at a slow pace then 2 miles intervals of 20 seconds fast and 2 minutes slow.  I planned my run really well as I wanted to do the intervals on the cycle track where I wouldn't have to worry about cars and I arrived at the cycle track at around 3.8 miles!!  Couldn't of done it any better!  It's probably a good job it was raining heavily so no one could see this mad woman running backwards and forwards along the same piece of track!!! In a strange sort of way I really enjoyed the sprints - in the same sort of sadistic way I enjoy hill intervals!!

For once I managed to keep with the intervals and was pleased to see on uploading my run that my fast intervals were at 6:20, 6:46, 7:47, 7:40 minute miles!  Quite impressed with the speed of the first 2 then I obviously lost it!!  Overall average pace for the full 6 miles was 9:13 minute miles!

I'm quite pleased that I had a positive run for the last run of the year - hopefully 2014 will be a better fitness year than 2013!

Time now to set my goals for the year ahead!!!

Monday, 30 December 2013

A well earned rest day!

Its the start of week 7 of my marathon training plan and ...

... which means it was time to do the rest of the laundry, the rest of the ironing and the rest of the cleaning I don't get done whilst running!!!

My running buddy Haddie likes Spot the dog so I thought I would add him to my blog to put a smile on her face!  Although from what I see she is always smiling anyhow!!!

Tomorrow is the last day of the year so time to evaluate my running goals past and future!

Watch this space to find out where I'm heading!!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Another day another run 4 Haddie!

I woke up this morning feeling exceptionally lethargic but fully aware I had a 7 mile run to do according to my marathon training plan.

I was tired and not really "feeling it" but then I thought of my little running buddy Haddie and all those in the "I run 4" group who have such a struggle to do what most of us take for granted that I was soon feeling motivated to give it my best shot!

It was a bright, crisp but cold day and once my legs got the idea that my head was in control I started to relax into it and get the "feel good" factor back!  

The marathon plan stated a 9 minute mile pace run which I did try to do but my legs were just too tired to sustain!  

I think the off road running lark yesterday took more out of me than I realised!  I managed 7.21 miles at an average 9:36 pace which considering how I was feeling I'm quite proud of!  It was definitely a dig deep and think of Haddie run!

Thankfully tomorrow is a rest day which my legs will really appreciate!

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Long run done 4 Haddie!

I got up this morning hoping and praying it was going be a better day than yesterday weather wise as I had a long run to do for my running buddy Haddie - come what may!

I was delighted when I drew back my curtains to see blueish sky and a little bit of sun!

Before the truly unpredictable weather could change I was ready and heading out the door sporting for the first time my new "Aftershokz open ear headphones" that the big man in the red suit very kindly brought me.

I do a lot of running on narrow country roads and therefore don't like wearing headphones as I can't hear the traffic coming behind me but these solve that problem! 

I was a little unsure about them as they seemed a poor fit and I had visions of me constantly adjusting and tweaking them. 

Aftershokz open ear headphones
However, once in 
position they never moved and I actually forgot about them completely!  They did the job perfectly and I could even pass niceties with other runners and hear them instead of rudely running past smiling, as I would have done if I had "normal" earphones in blocking out the world! The quality of the sound was excellent too so all in all I am a happy bunny! 

It was a fairly weird experience at first listening to music but still hearing surrounding sounds too!

Anyhow, off I set with 12 miles in mind, and decided to have an off-road experience just to mix my training up a bit!  

However, my first obstacle appeared after a mile and a second not long after ... trees blocking my way!  Obviously the high winds yesterday had caused some damage to the countryside! I managed to get past both these obstacles and was happily on my way again!

It was very wet and muddy in places so I had to take it slowly. At one point the field I was going through was flooded so I was tiptoeing my way around the outside but got it sooooooo wrong! 

"Something"  that was disguised as a stone which I trusted fully promptly gave way under me and I ended up up to my ankles in thick gooey mud!  

My trainers felt like they had doubled in weight! I quickly looked around hoping I had no witnesses, luckily I was alone!!!

However, other than this I really enjoyed my run although I found it totally exhausting!  I'm not sure whether this is the off-road influence or this being my first post Christmas run!  

I made it home after just 10.8 miles but there's no way I was going stay out to do the additional mile or so! You can view it here!

Once I had stretched I headed for a shower! When I had to sit down in the shower to wash my hair I realised that perhaps I had pushed my self a little too far!

After some food and coffee I made a surprisingly speedy recovery and was soon out walking the dog! I did an additional 4.32 windy miles walking - that's the weather not me!!!

All in all not a bad effort I don't think!

My trainers are now stuffed with newspaper and I'm hoping they dry out OK.

It's a good job I have more than one pair of trainers!  

Which ones shall I pick tomorrow?

The ones on the bottom right are how the ones up above used to look!!!

Friday, 27 December 2013

It's all over for another year!

It's hard to believe after all the build up in a blink of an eye it's all over for another year!

Having said that I have had a lovely time celebrating with my family and friends which hasn't left much time for running!

I didn't run at all on Christmas Day or Boxing Day although I did manage some walks with the dog so I haven't been totally lazy!

Today I had planned to run the long run stated on my marathon training plan.  I seriously had all good intentions and I had even told Haddie (My run 4 buddy) that I would run for her today but the weather had other ideas!

I couldn't believe it when I woke up this morning feeling seriously sluggish and all I could hear was the rain pelting the windows and the wind blowing around the houses rattling anything that would rattle!  I snuggled back down under my duvet and thought it would calm down in a little while. 

Eventually I ventured out of bed and was by now I was beginning to suffer serious running withdrawal symptoms BUT the weather had no mercy and was gradually getting worse!

The weather man advised not to venture out unless absolutely necessary so for once in my life I decided to be sensible and put running on hold for today.

BUT ... Haddie got a trike for Christmas and she has set a goal to learn to pedal for me so I felt I owed her some miles!  

Treadmill? Swim? Turbo Trainer?

I got a new swimming toy for Christmas called a "Tempo Trainer Pro" so swim it was as it gave me an ideal opportunity to give it a whirl!  The local pool is only a 5 minute drive away so I felt happy risking this!

The "Tempo Trainer Pro" device transmits a beep to help develop a consistent pace and tempo whilst swimming.

There are 3 different modes on it but I decided to go for the basic one that monitors your pace per length.  Before I went I input my critical swim speed of 0.37 seconds per 25 metres to see how I got on.

I got to the Leisure Centre at around 11am and was surprised to see a nearly deserted car park.  I thought with the bad weather every Tom, Dick and Harry would be swimming or in the Gym but it seems everyone else was opting for a sofa day!

I got in the pool, pressed the start button on my gadget and pushed it up under my swim cap where it is supposed to go, then started swimming.

I was amazed to discover for the first few lengths that I was ahead of my goal pace and was making it to the other side before I got the triple beep in my ear.  However, the more lengths I did the slower I got and the beep was soon getting there before me!  However, this spurred me on to beat the beep and I managed to up and maintain my pace so i suppose the gadget does what it says on the packet!

I'm not sure whether anyone else swimming near me could hear the beep or not as it sounded quite loud to me.  Maybe they just thought i was emitting the beep myself!

next time i go I will try and work out how to set the stroke rate and have it beeping at me like a mad thing all the time!  I really will hope no one else can hear it then!

I managed to swim 1900 metres, 76 lengths or 1.18 miles.

It's that time of year again where I set myself a challenge for 2014!!

My immediate thoughts went to Haddie in Hawaii! 

I thought I could run the distance to her in Hawaii during the year -until I Googled the distance and very quickly changed my mind!

However, once the seed had been sown it was something I really wanted to do! 

SO instead of it being a 2014 challenge I have set it as an ongoing target to see how long it takes for me to accomplish.

So from my first run for Haddie on 22nd December 2013 let's see how long it takes me to run to Hawaii!!!

Now THAT'S a challenge!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas everyone!

It's Christmas Eve and I am totally ready for the man in the red suit to pay me a visit!

Getting excited now!!!

This morning before I set about my chores I got my priorities right and went for a run!

It was a hilly little number and the wind just kept on blowing me back the entire time!  I felt like I was battling against a wall but didn't give up!

I managed 6.18 miles in 59 minutes 38 seconds!  Thankfully I got home in under the hour as no sooner had I got home when the snow started to come down!

Although it was cold and windy I really enjoyed my run and it certainly cleared the cobwebs!

I felt invigorated for the rest of the day which was lucky really as I had a lot to do!

However, everything is ready now and I am relaxing with a glass of wine before going out with my family for tea!

I won't be running for the next couple of days as I will be concentrating on partying!!

Monday, 23 December 2013

The Eve of Christmas Eve ...

and the beginning of  

Well Christmas is nearly here and I am as ready as I am going to be!  If I haven't got it now we will just have to do without!

What an awful day I have had today!  

I took my daughter to the dentist and thankfully everything was OK, then I went to visit my mum and dad!

However, on the way home there was some sort of incident on the motorway and the traffic was at a standstill for over an hour! The wind and rain were battering the car and I was really frightened we were going to get blown over!

I was relieved when we started to move and we finally got home safely! Actually I was relieved when we started to move that my car moved as several didn't  - it ended up as a bit of a weaving exercise!

Once home I had an Everest size ironing mountain to tackle, as the ironing fairy seems to have got blown away ...and then it was time to RUN!

There was no way I was going to venture out in the gales and rain so I opted for the soft option and went on the treadmill instead!

As I now run 4 Haddie I wanted to make it count so instead of just merrily plodding to Christmas music I opted for a speed interval training programme that really put me through my paces!

I managed 45 minutes and ran 4.36 miles. Although my fast bits were fast my slow bits were very slow so the average pace doesn't look as spectacular as it should!

I did work hard Haddie - Honest!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

My first run 4 Haddie!

Last night I had a great night out at a Christmas party where I ate, drank and danced far too much and then slept in this morning until 10am which is unheard of for me as I am one of the world's worst sleepers! 

After getting over the shock of it being mid morning and then snoozing a little longer I eventually got up and got dressed in my running gear to run my first run for Haddie!

I felt a quiver of excitement as I contemplated what sort of run to do.  

The 8 Basic Types Of Runs are:

Recovery Run - slow pace run the day after a hard run!
Base Run - Comfortable paced run.
Long Run - to build endurance!
Progression Run - start slow and build up speed gradually!
Fartlek - intervals consisting of various speeds and distances!
Hill Repeats - running up and down hills like a mad woman!
Tempo Run - a hard pace you can maintain.
Intervals - short bursts of speed.

I decided on a tempo run, where I would try and maintain a 9 minute mile pace which I find extremely difficult at the moment! 

Ever since my Ligament and Achilles issues I have struggled to run at a 9 minute mile pace but I wanted something that would test me and make me dig deep for Haddie!

Just as I was about to leave the house the heavens opened and a heavy deluge of rain came down!  I groaned but decided to go anyhow! I reminded myself of the many months when I couldn't run how I would have been delighted to run in any conditions and also thought of all the people in the world who would love to run but can't!

With Haddie's smile at the front of my mind I set off, it was cold, wet and windy but I wasn't going to be put off!

I was delighted to run my first mile at a 8:57 minute mile pace and despite being "puddled" by numerous passing cars I wasn't going to be deterred! Why do some car drivers think it is hilarious to go through puddles as fast and as close as possible to pedestrians? 

I managed to maintain my pace and mile 2 was 8:57, mile 3 was 8:55, and then I started to slow ... mile 4 I came in at just over the 9 min mile target at 9:01, then 9:04 and finally 9:09. However despite the last 3 miles being slightly slower than the target my overall average pace for the entire run was incredibly a 8:59 minute mile pace! You can view it here!


I couldn't have done it without Haddies smile spurring me on!

Onwards and upwards!  Here's to more Haddie runs!

This afternoon I got wrapped up well and braved the Great British weather once again to walk the dog!  Sabre doesn't like the wind or the rain so we only went 2 miles - if he had had a choice he wouldn't have done this! 

Sabre is dressed and ready to be Santa's little helper!

So I have survived week 5 of my marathon training plan and have run a total of 27.3 miles this week!

Bring on week 6!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

I run 4 Haddie!

I would like to introduce my new little running buddy who I have been matched with by "I run 4".

This is Haddie:

I am going to dedicate all my future runs to Haddie and I am sure she will give me the extra strength I need when times get tough! 

How could I not run my socks off for that adorable smile?

I struggle to believe in myself, but I don't want to let Haddie down so from now on I will Believe AND Achieve!

Just like her T Shirt says "Anything boys can do I can do better!"

Today is a rest day on my training plan which is a little unfortunate on Haddie's first day with me! 

Tomorrow I will run 4 her for the first time!

Friday, 20 December 2013


I have had a very busy day today and now feel fit to drop!

I got up and finally decorated my Christmas cake!  

My only problem now is how do I store it?  I don't have a tall storage box! It look like I will have to get crafty with the cling film or foil!

Step 1
End result!

Next, after tidying the devastation that was the kitchen came a visit to the mad house Aka Asda,  to get as much of the Christmas shop as I could! Once home and it was all put away I was in definite need of a de-stress so got changed into my running gear and hit the streets.

My legs weren't as willing as my head or my heart!  I think they were still recovering from yesterdays long run, however I over-ruled them and persuaded them they could run despite the wind and cold and I managed to go 5.53 miles @ an average 9:29 minute mile pace. 

Not quite the 9 min mile pace I was aiming for but considering I had already taken part in "trolley wars" in Asda and I did do a long run yesterday so it wasn't too bad!

Coincidentally as soon as I got home I got a FB message through telling me I had finally been matched with a child from the "I run 4" site! 

The idea is a child or adult with additional needs (who cannot physically run themselves) gets matched with a runner and they encourage and support each other through the good and bad times! 

You can find out more about "I run 4"  here!

Anyhow, my match is with a gorgeous 3 year old little girl with huge brown eyes called Miss Haddie who lives in Wahiawa, Hawaii! 

This adds an interesting dimension as we are on completely different time zones, hence why I have posted the 2 clocks on my side bar to remind me what time it is for Haddie!

If anyone is going to encourage and motivate me to reach my sub 4 marathon goal and to complete a sprint triathlon it's going to be this little girl!

I run 4 Haddie - who do you run 4?