The view from the injury bench

That’s right, I’m still sidelined by injury and no closer to knowing what my injury is and how to deal with it. The appointment I had with a consultant back in April was cancelled during the clinic, I got as far as going for an x-ray, then was told the clinic was cancelled on my return to the department. Yes, this was incredibly disappointing, having waited a long time to get to this point. I am currently waiting (impatiently) for my next appointment in June.

So how am I dealing with this? As a coach, I always say to people that they need to take care, rest, respect their body and, if they are injured, a good way to keep in touch is through volunteering. I have continued to volunteer at parkrun, I have been at the edge of the road (or pool) for many races, I volunteered on the baggage trucks at London Marathon and I continue to clap, cheer and holler for my friends as they fly by, smiles wide and hands in the air.

One of the good things about this approach is staying in touch with your community. I enjoy the post-run coffee and catch-up and this is as important to me as the running itself. I have been finding  myself feeling a little sad recently though, as the injury blues kick in and I miss that incredible endorphin rush that comes from pushing yourself hard and hi-fiving your fellow athletes, knowing you have given it everything.

I am keeping it all ticking over, but I can feel my run-fitness seeping away, as I huff and puff, trying to hold a conversation. I am running twice a week, leading my GoodGym group runs, which are a stop-start sort of run, that I just about get away with, hobbling and wincing along the way. I am continuing to enjoy pushing my limbs to be a little more willing at More Yoga and I am, of course, dipping in and out of the water when I can.

A couple of weeks back I went along to London Royal Docks Open Water Swimming. I have been here before, a couple of years ago, when I had a little panic because the ladder, used to lower yourself into the water, was broken and we had to jump in. I did eventually overcome my panic and schlumphed in with some encouragement from the lifeguard, who was incredibly patient! This time I decided to join a coached session, to ease myself (literally) into the open water season.

Cable Cars

The open water swim area is pretty easy to get to, just a short walk away from Royal Victoria DLR station. If you want to make an entrance, you could opt for the cable cars, which land just next to the water.

Watery expanse

This view is what greets you as you approach the area, pretty huge isn’t it?! Having been before, I knew that I would only be touching the tip of this vast waterway, so felt reassured rather than intimidated. The coached session was great, with a few of the people having entered events such as triathlons or open water swims, feeling the need to try out wetsuits and get used to the cold (which actually it wasn’t really, my toes were still pink when I got out!). First of all, we paddled about in the water, acclimatising, allowing a trickle of water to enter the neckline of our wetsuits, before turning onto our backs to float and onto our fronts to blow bubbles.

As our confidence grew, we swam out to the first buoy, where we were shown some techniques for going around a buoy, which was a lot of fun. We also attempted a group start, clustering together to see how it feels to swim so close to others and get a sense of how a race start might feel. By the end of the session I had found my feet, as it were, knowing I can now go on and enjoy the open water by myself. I do think my panic will only really subside if I keep on going, spending time in the water, getting to know my ability and building confidence to do my upcoming events justice (I’m entered into the two-mile Swim Serpentine again in September).

With my wetsuit warmed up and ready to go, I’m looking forward to dipping into the Serpentine Lido, more of the Royal Docks, some sea swimming and I would really love to try out the ponds at Hampstead Heath. Here I go on another open water adventure!

 

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More Yoga

Yes please!

I am still running, albeit in a keeping things ticking over kind of way, leading my GoodGym runs and with the odd parkrun here and there, to test myself. My knee is still painful and swollen, so I visited my GP recently and asked to be referred to a consultant (appointment in a month’s time). I have realised that I need to think long-term and look at activities that will support my running, by increasing strength and flexibility. You can see how I’ve been working on the strength aspect here and, to increase my almost non-existent flexibility, I’ve been doing some yoga and pilates classes.

Recently I was cycling through my local area and spotted an interesting-looking building with a big stylised water lily image and ‘More Yoga’ in big letters on the front. It didn’t look very open, so I kept on pedalling and looked it up online when I got home. It seems there are studios all over London and the reason it looked closed is because the studios don’t have a reception and just open during class times, thus keeping the cost down. They also have just a few changing cubicles and one loo, with pared back decor (which I quite like!) and simple styling.

Special offer

I have been wanting to do pilates for a while, having studied it back in my dance days, but was struggling to find a class that was close enough to home but also fitted in with my schedule (there are some great classes locally, but not at times that work for me right now). I pondered the website for a while, before signing up to a ’20 days for £15′ offer and promptly heading to my first class.

Looking back over my class history, I can see that I’ve taken seven classes so far and I have enjoyed all of them. Each has been different (there are all sorts of yoga styles to choose from and a few pilates classes too) and all of the teachers have been great, really friendly, supportive and clearly experienced and professional (I like that they bring their own personalities into the class, giving each a very different feel). I would say my favourite classes so far have been ‘More Flow to Restore’ (which I did with snow falling outside last week!) and More Power Pilates, where I *really* worked out how to engage my core! Yesterday I was in a restorative session, using blocks, bolsters and blankets to support stretches that were held for around ten minutes each…blissful! The only criticism I might have is that the studio could be a little warmer, my hands and feet were cold and I think it’s important to feel warm when you’re moving into deep stretches (there are big blankets that you can wrap around you, which is helpful, but not always appropriate).

Signing up

My 20 days will be up this weekend, so I need to decide whether I want to continue and sign up for a longer period. There are all sorts of membership offers (I’m a little overwhelmed to be honest!) and you can also buy a class pass, which can be used over a set period of time (I notice you can even get annual membership now, but I’m not sure I’m ready to commit!). If you want to find out more, click here and I would definitely recommend doing the twenty-day option, I have found it a great way to get a taster of the different teaching styles and see if I can fit it in to my schedule.

Namaste!

 

 

Bend it like Fitartist

I yoged again 🙂 We had a different teacher this morning and, at first, I thought ‘Oh no, she’s putting on weirdy floaty chanty whaley music’ but actually she was very good and, once I’d stopped being distracted by the fact that the beautiful white walls are already scuffed after just one week, I had a good old stretch and even drifted off in a relaxed state a couple of times. Her class wasn’t as ‘sporty’ as last week, more ‘relaxy’, but I really liked it.

To get there I decided I would run. I got some gorgeous new shoes in the post this morning and couldn’t wait a moment longer to try them out. Now, I know you’re supposed to ease gently into minimal running shoes, but I was just too eager, and I decided one mile to yoga, a bit of bending and stretching then one mile back is quite gentle enough.

Cute shoes

Cute shoes

As I set off I was stepping gingerly along, afraid that I might heel-strike and do myself a mischief but, once I’d got over the initial weirdness of it all, I remembered that I strike with my mid-foot anyway, and didn’t really need to adjust much. The fronts of my lower legs started aching quite quickly, so maybe I was tensing up a bit, but I guess that comes with time. I felt much lighter and springy, which seems odd when you consider that these shoes have very little in the way of cushioning – the spring was all my own! I will keep you updated with my ‘barefoot’ progress as I try them out further this week. In the meantime, here’s a picture of Hector’s Lego Daft Punk for Travelling Hopefully, who has been enjoying the pumping beats at the gym:

Daft Punk as seen by a six-year-old

Daft Punk as seen by a six-year-old

You may wonder what an very-nearly-six-year-old is doing listening to Daft Punk, well they look like robots and they sound like robots, so what’s not to like?!

Real life robot

Real life robot

You may also wonder where I’ve been hiding for the past few days. Well, I have run – I did the 10k section of Peter’s class on Saturday. This was a one-and-a-half hour session with very many press-ups, a gruelling up and down hill section and a forty minute run – when he said ‘And now you will run for fourteen minutes’ I thought ‘Oh that’s ok’, but then I realise he had in fact said ‘forty’. It was hard-going but really good stuff. I have also been to the gym and I have stood around cheering on fellow runners at Hilly Fields Parkrun, something I always consider to be running by proxy…

Yo-yo-yogaaah!

I know, I know, I’ve been neglecting the blogging bit of Juneathon, so I am going to quickly move on and try and distract you…

I’m a bit giddy, having just enjoyed this delightful little film on the Guardian Running Blog.

Click here

It makes me want to run up and down a hill right now, he makes it all sound so easy and so inviting (especially that bit about a free beer at the end of a race). It does look a little like an advert for Inov8 though… The closest I get to fell running around here is Hilly Fields. We do have lots of good, challenging hills in South East London, but there is something magical about that hill they run up in the film.

So, back to my Juneathon. On Friday I went and did a trial session at the shiny new leisure centre, and there I was, with just one other person in the lovely big gym, with all that brand new equipment. It could be very tempting to have a go at everything and overdo it, so I reigned myself in a bit and stuck to what I normally use, with a few added extras just because. Saturday morning I went along to the running group of a friend/gym instructor/personal trainer. It was a beginner to 5k session and it was really good to see how you can ‘go back to basics’ and still get a really great workout, I was pushing myself as much as I would in a more ‘advanced’ session, and certainly felt the burn.

I have become slightly obsessed with the new gym and did a really intense session there yesterday but, as it’s now ‘officially open’, it was much busier. It’s right next to the train station, so I’m guessing it will be popular with commuters and there was a steady stream of people looking around while I was there. Every time I embark on a Juneathon or Janathon challenge, I say I will start doing yoga as part of my programme of activity, well today I actually did! Yup, I slowed down for an hour and got my head to touch my knees. It’s been a long time. I can see that I have a lot of work to do, but the teacher was lovely and I can see myself heading there every Tuesday for some one-to-one with a mat.

And breathe.

Keep up! Keep up!

I don’t feel like I’m keeping up, not with the running, but with the blogging of the runs. So, I have a few bits and bobs to add to the Juneathon mix.

Monday was a muddle of a day, only managed a little one because the little one was not in the mood to be rushed about in a running buggy and we had to wait in for the arrival (and then quick hiding of) a certain birthday present.

8-full-likeabike_018

It was one of those running errands/popping to the post office sort of runs. Tried to make up for it with some quality pressing and sitting. Up, that is.

Juneathon Day 22

Sit-ups: 75

Press-ups: 25

Yogi-press-ups: 6

Run

Time: 19 minutes 20 seconds

Distance: 1.75 miles

Average Pace: 11.03

Best Pace: 8.35

Calories: 179

Yesterday was hot, hot, hot, so I decided to leave it until a bit later in the day and wanted to combine the run with a trip to the paddling pool. Now Hector and I have been to this particular park many times, but normally much earlier on and we often have the playground to ourselves so it was a bit of a shock to be there around school kicking out time and be surrounded by screaming kids, chavs and ice-cream wielding toddlers, high on sugar. Hector just looked around for a while, trying to take it all in, then I quickly put on his swim suit and kicked off my hot running shoes. It was delicious to dip my toes in the cold water but Hector wasn’t so sure and pulled his legs right up as I tried to put him in! He played for a while around the edge, pouring water from his watering can and eventually acclimatised and asked to go in properly. I spent a lot of the time feeling disgusted at the pissy smell around the paddling pool and feeling sad at the children playing with empty crisp packets and corner shop bags in the pool, but H seemed happy enough. After a bit more of this oddity we headed home…once I’d cleaned a big purple bird poo off the running buggy, those birds are rather colourful in their excretions at the moment!

Juneathon Day 23

Sit-ups: 70

Press-ups: 20

Yogi-press-ups: 5

Run

Time: 22 minutes 16 seconds

Distance: 2.06 miles

Average Pace: 10.48

Best Pace: 8.01

Calories: 222

Juneathon days, two of ’em

Oh well, I was doing so well on the blogging on the same day as running thingie, but lost track yesterday so now feel all behind and befuddled. Anyway I did run yesterday, just a little local parks effort after feeling dreadful on Wednesday (no idea what was wrong, just felt awful). I did, however, tackle the yogi press-ups whatnots that Nadine told me about at the weekend. Hmmm, how to describe them…Get yourself into a downward dog position (triangular, bum in the air) but with your weight resting on your forearms instead of your hands, and have your hands clasped together. From here you exhale and do a press-up – of sorts – and inhale as you ease back into the starting position. Oh my! I felt it in my triceps, abs and thighs. Nadine said she uses this on her students as a build up to/preparation for headstands. I shan’t be going that far.

Today I eventually got out of the house. Hector really loves playing in the garden, well, I suppose we have made it truly special for him with all the space to ride his ‘bike’, push his trolley and run up and down and then there’s the wonderful sandpit. It does mean he takes some persuading to get out of the house. We did get out though, but not until about 4pm and it involved a trip to Ambala to get some savoury deliciousness to accompany the curry I made for dinner. Oh, if you haven’t tasted Ambala’s samosas, you haven’t lived! They are melt in the mouth gorgeous. This did mean negotiating the plodding pedestrians on Turnpike Lane, but we managed just under three miles.

When the curry has gone down a bit I will attempt some more of those Yogi Press-ups. Not sure if I’ll get to blog tomorrow, maybe late on, as we are meeting up with some family types.

Juneathon Day 18

Press-ups: 20

Sit-ups: 60

Yogi Press-ups: 5

Run

Time: 30 minutes 35 seconds

Distance: 3.27 miles

Average Pace: 9.21

Best Pace: 8.18

Calories: 364

Juneathon Day 19

Press-ups: tbc

Sit-ups: tbc

Yogi Press-ups: tbc

Run

Time: 29 minutes 30 seconds

Distance: 2.77 miles

Average Pace: 10.40

Best Pace: 8.08

Calories: 336

Bend and stretch

This week Hector discovered his toes. As we use re-usable nappies, he is rather bulky in the bottom department, so can only really engage with his toes during nappy change time. He is loving it! Every time we take off his nappy he reaches straight for his feet, and yesterday he managed to put them in his mouth, much to his – and our – delight.

We went to yoga yesterday and I did some gorgeous stretches but Hector got a bit frustrated towards the end for some reason and wasn’t too keen on letting me enjoy the relaxation bit. Hmmmmm. I came away feeling way too stressed for someone who had just done a yoga class. I noticed that he was doing his own little ‘bend and stretch’ sequence whilst I did mine, something he has also developed in the past couple of weeks: when we do a nappy change, I like to do ‘kick-kick-kick’ and ‘bend and stretch’ with him and he has started doing in by himself now. A little future yogi?!

This afternoon we are going to go swimming, his first proper swim in a big pool. How exciting!